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J. E. HAKTING, F.L.S., F.Z.S., 




J 88 7. 





In offering a few remarks by way of Preface to the Volume for 1887 
wbicli is concluded with the issue of the present number, the Editor 
desires to thank very cordially all those contributors who during the 
past year have given him their support and encouragement. The 
number and variety of the articles which have been contributed to 
the present Volume must strike every reader who glances at their 
titles, no less than the number of full-page illustrations which through 
the liberality of Mr. Newman have been expressly drawn and litho- 
graphed for "this Journal. These plates it may be observed, as well as 
the articles which they have been designed to illustrate, are intended 
to bring home to the reader a more accurate impression of the actual 
appearance and habits of some of the smaller British Mammaha, 
which either from the nature of their haunts or from their retired 
mode of life are apt to escape the attention of all but the raost 
observant. The plan pursued has been to have the original drawmgs 
made from the life if possible, or at least h-orn perfectly fresh speci- 
mens while still in the flesh. In this way the natural features are 
preserved which otherwise would be lost in the process of drying and 

In the case of the Greenland Whale, Bal(Bna mysticetus, the plate 
of this species issued with the April number was prepared h-orn an 
original sketch by Capt. David Gray, drawn to scale after careful 
measurements of a recently captured specimen ; so that it would be 
impossible to have any more satisfactory figure except by the aid of 
photography, which in the case of so large an animal could not well be 

As it is proposed to continue the series (so far as it may extend to 
the more uncommon species), those who may have opportunities for 
procuring specimens of such as are needed for illustration will 
materially aid the scheme by forwarding the same to the Editor. At 
present the desiderata are the rarer specimens of Bats which have not 
yet been figured in the series, and the three species of British Shrews. 

At the same time any notes which may help in tracing the 
distribution of these mammals in the British Islands, or throw light 
on their life-history, will be very acceptable. 

Attention may be here directed to the fact that comparatively little 
has been published on the Zoology of Wales, and the Editor notes 
with regret how few correspondents he has in any of the Welsh 
Counties. He would urge all those who may have friends in the 

/ /- 


Principalityv able and williug to undertake an investigation of the 
fauna of the districts in which they reside, to acquaint them with the 
desirability of collecting information, and to point out to them the 
medium which this Journal affords for the publication of their 

To a certain extent these remarks will apply to some of the more 
remote parts of Ireland which, from the naturalist's point of view, are 
still imperfectly known. 

It should be borne in mind that one of the chief objects of this 
Journal is to aid in the collection of materials for a better knowledge 
of the British Fauna than at present can be acquired from the 
perusal of any existing publications. And here it may be observed 
that the researches of its contributors should not be limited solely to 
the Vertebrates, but should extend also to the Invertebrates, excepting 
perhaps the Insecta, to the special study of which other journals (the 
' Entomologist ' and the ' Entomologists' Monthly Magazine ') are 
already particularly devoted. 

The recent establishment of a Marine Biological Laboratory at 
Plymouth cannot fail to be productive of the most important scientific 
results in this direction ; at the same time, naturalists who are resident 
on other parts of the coast may materially aid the cause of science 
which such an institution is designed to promote, by communicating 
the results of their researches into the life-history of many marine 
forms, especially amongst the MoUusca and Crustacea, about which we 
are still profoundly ignorant. Unhappily, attention has been too 
much restricted to an examination of external form, the internal 
structure being almost entirely neglected. In this direction a wide 
field of labour remains to be explored. 

It need not, however, be supposed that the scope of ' The 
Zoologist ' is limited to the study of British Zoology, although this 
naturally claims a large share of attention. The Editor is always 
pleased to receive zoological communications, to whatever part of the 
world they may relate. It should not be forgotten that the British 
Islands form but a very small portion of the British Empire, and the 
more we can learn of the Zoology of other parts of the world, the 
better shall we be informed of the productions of our own country. 
In fact, without such extension of knowledge we should know next to 
nothing of the species which in our lists come under the designation 
of periodical migrants and accidental visitors. 

In offering these few remarks by way of Preface to the volume for 
1887, the Editor trusts that during the year to come he may continue 
to receive as heretofore, h-om all parts of the country, a proof in the 
shape of useful contributions to this Journal, that public interest in 
Zoology is in no way subsiding. 



Apgar, Prof. Austin C. 

The Musk Eat and the Unio, 425 
Aplin, Oliver V. 

Bu-ds observed m North Devon, 
71 ; Scarcity of Fieldfares, 71 ; 
Partridges with white " horse- 
shoes," 108; Plumage of the 
Kestrel, 112 ; Ornithological 
notes from Oxfordshire in 1886, 
283 ; Spring moult of the Wheat- 
ear, BOO ; Eoller and other birds 
in the Isle of Wight, 386 ; Wry- 
neck nesting in holes in the 
ground, 391 ; Note on the Tree 
Pipit, 430 
Balkwill, F. H. 

Small Eorqual at Plymouth, 262 
Barclay, Hugh G. 

Swifts appropriating Martins' 
nests, 391 
Barrett-Hamilton, Gerald E. H. 

Black Eat m Wexford, 425 
Bath, W. Harcourt 

Usefulness of the Eook in destroy- 
ing Caterpillars, 109 ; A Badger 
in Birmingham, 346 ; The song 
of the Chaffinch, 348 ; Thresher 
Shark at Portland, 393 ; Missel 
Thrush feeding on Pieris rapae, 
429 ; Song of Chaffinch in 
autumn, 431 
Becher, W. 

Montagu's Harrier in Notts, 26 
Beckmann, L. 

Hornless Stags, 381 
Beckwith, William E. 

Food of the Spotted Flycatcher, 
269 ; Food of the Missel Thrush, 
Bell, Prof. F. Jeffrey, M.A. 

Holothurians or Sea Slugs, 41 ; 
The " Grouse disease," 265, 302 
Benson, Henry 

Cirl Bunting breeding near Godal- 
ming, 303 

Bird, Eev. Maurice C. H., M.A. 
Blue-throat in Norfolk, 70; On the 
wing-spiu: of the Coot, Moorhen, 
and Water Eail, 107; White- 
eyed Pochard and Bewick's 
Swan in Norfolk, 195; The 
Sheldrake or "Bar-goose" on 
the Essex coast, 195 

BiRLEY, F. H. 

Lesser EedpoU nesting in Surrey, 
69 ; Thrush nesting on the 
ground, 112 ; Woodcock and 
Pheasant laying in the same 
nest, 194 
Blagg, E. W. H. 

Change of habits in the Brown 
Eat, 234 ; Wood Pigeons casting 
up pellets, 236 ; Jackdaw taking 
possession of Magpie's nest, 267 ; 
Eedstart laying spotted eggs, 
303 ; Ciurious site for Chiffchaff 's 
nest, 304 ; Manx Shearwater in 
Staffordshire, 430 
Blake, W. 

Manx Shearwater in Hereford- 
sliire, 430 
Bond, F., F.Z.S. 

Hedgehog eating swedes, 345 ; 
Swifts nesting in Martins' nests, 
348 ; Distribution of the Bank 
Vole, 425 
BoRRER, William, M.A., F.L.S. 
Breeding of the Tufted Duck in 
Aberdeenshire, 427 ; The Bank 
Vole in Sussex, 462 

A synopsis of the Snakes of South 
Africa, 171 
Brazenor, C. W. 

Natterer's Bat and the Barbas- 
telle in Sussex, 151 ; Craneflies 
preyed upon by Gulls and 
Terns, 355 
Brown, George, F.Z.S. 
Waxwing in Aberdeenshire, 70 



Beown, J. A. Harvie, F.E.S.E., &c. 
Knot on the West Coast of Scot- 
land, 464 
Browne, Montagu, F.Z.S. 

Notes on the vertebrate animals of 
Leicestershire, 57 

Bees occupying a bird's nest, 238 ; 
Young Dippers taking to the 
water, 269 
Butler, A. G., F.LS., F.Z.S. 

Unusual nesting-site for the Tree 
Sparrow, 265 ; Unusual nesting- 
site for the Wryneck, 299 ; The 
Missel Thrush occasionally a 
bird of prey, 304 ; Attempt to 
keep the Sand Martin in con- 
finement, 347 ; Late nesting of 
the Greenfinch, 429 
Buxton, Alfred F. 

Note on the Eing Ouzel, 305 
Cambridge, Rev. 0. P., M.A., F.E.S. 
Paired varieties of the Jackdaw, 
Carter, Samuel 

On the growth of antlers in the 
Eed-deer as observed in confine- 
ment, 321 
Carter, T. 

Notes from Western Australia, 352 
Chapman, Abel 

Little Gull in Co. Durham, 26 
Chapman, Alfred Crawhall 
Habits and migrations of wild- 
fowl, 3 
Chase, Robert W. 

Harlequin Duck on the Northum- 
brian coast, 196 ; Tawny Pipit 
near Brighton, 432 ; Pectoral 
Sandpiper in Norfolk, 433 
Clutterbuck, E. E. 

Swallows in Somersetshire in 
December, 269 
Cockerell, S. C. 

Middlesex Mollusca, 354 
Cockerell, T. D. A. 

Marine Mollusca of Kerry, 115 
Cocks, Alfred H., M.A., F.Z.S. 
The Finwhale fishery of 1886 on 
the Lajiland coast, 207 
Collinge, W. E. 

Secretion of a violet-coloured fluid 
by certain of the Limnseidas, 
Cook. Charles 

Habits of the Weasel, 24 
CooMBE, Percy E. 

Little Bustard in Sussex, 111 


Young Otters in August, 67 ; Plo- 
ver's nest with five eggs, 349 ; 
Honey Buzzard in Dorset, 350 ; 
The Green Woodpecker an egg- 
sucker, 351 ; Dark variety of 
Montagu's Harrier in Hants, 352 
CoEDEAux, John 

Distribution of the White-bellied 
Brent Goose, 152 
Cornish, Thomas 

White's Thrush in the Scilly 
Islands, 114 ; Scabbard Fish on 
the Cornish Coast, 114 ; Inachus 
dorynchus at Penzance, 116 ; 
Cyclopterus lumpiis at Scilly, 
196 ; Axius stirhynchus in Corn- 
wall, 237 ; Timny at Penzance, 
307; Crenilabrus exoletus at 
Penzance, 308 ; Octopus at Pen- 
zance, 309 ; Livid Swimming 
Crab at Penzance, 309; To 
purify water in an aquarium, 
344 ; " Becker" or " Braise" in 
Cornwall, 353 ; Esquimaux Cur- 
lew at Scilly, 388 ; Bay's Bream 
at Scilly, 393 
Croasdaile, Anna 

Crossbills at Eynn, Eosenallis, 
Queen's County, 111 
Cunningham, Eobert 0. 

Gull-billed Tern in Belfast Lough, 
Dale, C. W., F.L.S. 

Eeported occurrence of Vespertilio 
murinus in Dorsetshire, 234; 
Slow-worm attacked by a Missel 
Tlu'ush, 307 
DiMMOCK, George 

Belostomidae and other fish-de- 
stroying Bugs, 101 
Dunn, Matthias 

Facts in the life-history of the 
Pollack, 241 
Elliott, Edmund 

Plain Surmullfit on the Devon- 
shire coast, 155 
Ellison, Allen 

Albino birds m Co. Wicklow, 193 ; 
On the breeding habits of the 
Siskin as observed in the Co. 
Wicklow, 338 ; Disparity in size 
and colour of eggs of the same 
species, 387 ; Late stay of the 
Swift in Ireland, 428 
Evans, William 

Breeding of the Tufted Duck in 
Aberdeenshire, 405 



Feilden, Col. H. W. 

Additions to the Avifauna of the 
Faeroe Islands, 73, 351; Chff- 
birds at Dover, 294 ; Late stay 
of Martins, 467 
Fitzgerald, F. E. 
Albino birds observed in the Har- 
rogate district, 110 ; Hawfincli 
at Harrogate, 153 ; Blackbird 
laying in Thrush's nest, 194 ; 
House Martins nesting in 
October, 194 
Flemyng, Eev. William, M.A. 
Black Eedstart in Co. Waterford, 
Fortune, Eiley 

Puffin on the Thames in July, 263 
Bees occupying bu-ds' nests, 273 
Hawfinch in Yorkshire, 299 
Long-eared Owl laying in Book's 
nest, 304 
Frere, Eev. H. T., M.A. 

Supposed appearance formerly of 
Ptarmigan in Cumberland, 153 ; 
Plumage of the Kestrel, 154 
Garriock, J. T. 
Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted 
Crake in Shetland, 72 
Gatcombe, John (the late) 

Ornithological notes from Devon 
and Cornwall, 375 
Gawen, C. E., F.Z.S. 

Habits of Books, 268 
Goldsmith, H. St. B. 

Puffin and Whimbrel in Somer- 
setshire, 466 
Goss, H., F.L.S., F.G.S. 

The song of the Chaffinch, 348 
Gray, Eobert 

Notes on a voyage to the Green- 
land Seas in 1886, 48, 94, 121 
Griffin, G. W. 

The Pearl fisheries of Australia, 
GuNN,_T. E., F.L.S. 

Ornithological notes from Norfolk 
and Suffolk, 415 
Gurney, J. H., F.Z.S. 

Wasp attacking a Tarantula, 310 ; 
Open nests of the Starling, Stock 
Dove, and Tawny Owl, 347 
Gurney, J. H., Jun., F.Z.S. 

Varieties of the Brambling, 74 ; 
Supposed assumption of male 
plumage by a female Kestrel, 
113; Ornithological notes from 
North Norfolk, 140 ; The Green- 
backed Porphyrio, 195 ; Hybrid 

Greenfinches, 266 ; The White- 
winged Tern in Cornwall and 
Scilly, 387 ; Occurrence in 
England of the Caspian Tern, 

Hadfield, Capt. Henry 

Muscular power of Snails, 114 

Haigh, G. H. Caton 

Variety of the Wild Duck, 69; 
Habits of the Green Sandpiper, 
110 ; Notes on Bats in North Lin- 
cohishire, 142 ; Lesser Horse- 
shoe Bat in Wales, 152 ; Lump- 
sucker on the Welsh coast, 273 ; 
Bats found in Merionethshire, 

Hamling, J. G. 

Cat attacked by a Swallow, 345 ; 
Cormorants roosting on a chiurch, 

Harcourt, G. W. 

Notes from Osfordshii-e, 301 

Harper, E. P. 

Sooty Shearwater at Flamborough, 
430 ; Uncommon birds near 
Scarborough, 467 

Harting, J. E., F.L.S., F.Z.S. 
Horse-shoe Eats, 1 ; Storm Petrel 
in London, 27 ; Eeported occur- 
rence of the Citril Finch near 
Brighton, 72 ; Death of Eobert 
Gray, 106 ; Eemarks on British 
Bats, 161 ; Change of habits in 
the Brown Eat, 189 ; Death of 
John Gatcombe, 233 ; Northern 
limits of the range of the Noctule 
in Great Britain, 260; The 
sleep of the Dormouse, 281 ; 
Herd of Eed-deer from a single 
hind, 344; White Stoat in 
Aiigust, 345 ; Coloration of the 
Viper, 353 ; On the Bank Vole, 
Arvicola glareolus, 361 ; The 
Grampus or Killer on the coast 
of Norway, 383 ; Snow Bunting 
breeding in confinement, 391 ; 
Mode in which Vipers are 
killed by the Hedgehog, 392; 
Squirrels at a distance fr"om 
trees, 424 ; Troglodytes par- 
vulus a migrant, 431 ; The 
Mole, Talpa europaea {Linn.), 


Cream-coloured Courser in Car- 
diganshire, 269 
Irby, Lieut. -Col. L. H. 
Bats in winter, 69 



Kelsall, J. E, 

The distribiition in Britain of the 
Lesser Horse-shoe Bat, 89 ; The 
Bats of Merionethshire, 346 
Klein, E., M.D., F.R.S. 

Report on the Grouse disease, 327 
Lamb, Henry 

Albino specimens of the Short- 
tailed Field Vole, 152; Great 
Grey Shrike in Kent, 154; Haw- 
fincla nesting in Kent, 303 ; 
Nightingale singing in July, 
Lan&ton, Herbert 

A new egg-drill, 236, 305 
Larken, E. p. 
Dormice in a garden, 106; Va- 
rieties of the Viper, 237 ; Un- 
usual site for Swallows' nest, 
Lendenfeld, R. von, Ph.D., F.L.S. 
Structure and life-history of 
Sjionges, 223 
LiLFORD, Rt. Hon. Lord, F.L.S. 
A few words on European Bats, 
61 ; Notes on the Ornithology 
of Northamptonshire and neigh- 
bourhood, 249, 452 ; A Puffin in 
London, 263; The Bank Vole 
in Northamptonshii-e, 463 

Osprey in Hertfordshire, 390 
Lodge, G. E. 

Colour and size of Adders, 271 ; 
Unusual site for a Flycatcher's 
nest, 346 ; Swifts laying in Mar- 
tins' nests, 428 ; Open nests of 
the Tawny Owl and Stock Dove, 
LovETT, Edward 

Notes and observations on British 
Stalk-eyed Crustacea, 145 
Macfarland, Prof. William 
Nesting habits of the Humming 
Bird (Trochilus colubris), 459 
Macpherson, Arthur H. 
Ornithological notes from Oxford- 
shire in 1866, 283; Knot on 
the West Coast of Scotland, 
Macpherson, Rev. H. A., M.A. 
Distribution of the White-bellied 
Brent Goose, 29 ; Plumage of 
the Tufted Duck, 112 ; Lesser 
Horse-shoe Bat in Herts and 
Kent, 152 ; The alleged existence 
of Ptarmigan in Cvunberland, 
153; Reported occurrence of Em- 

beriza melanocephala in Scot- 
land, 193; The Ptarmigan in 
South-West Scotland, 194; Food 
of the Greater Horse-shoe Bat, 
262 ; Food of the Smew, 271 ; 
The song of the Chaffinch, 299 ; 
Mimicry of the Corn Bunting, 
300; Hybrid Greenfinch and 
Linnet, 303 ; Coloration of the 
Viper, 306; Pied Puffin and 
Razorbill at St. Kilda, 347; 
The Roe-deer in Cumberland, 
382; The Tufted Duck on the 
Solway, 385 ; Long-tailed Duck 
in Cumbei'land, 432; Breeding 
of the Tufted Duck, 465 
Mann, T. J. 

Wood Pigeons casting up pellets, 
Mansel-Pleydell, J. C, F.L.S. 

Kestrel and Slow-worm, 263 ; 
Nesting of Montagu's Harrier in 
Dorsetshire, 464 
Marriott, C. A. 

Glaucous and Iceland Gulls on the 
Essex coast, 466 
Marsden, H. W. 

Nesting of the Marsh Warbler in 
Glamorganshire, 264 ; Black 
Tern near Gloucester, 299; 
Nesting of the Common Sand- 
piper, 305 ; Lesser and Black 
Terns near Gloucester, 387 ; 
Manx Shearwater at Gloucester, 
388 ; Nidification of the Noddy 
and Sooty Terns in the West 
Indies, 429 
Mathew, Rev. M. A., M.A., F.L.S. 

Hedgehog attacking a Hare, 233 
Maw, George 

Mares and Foals v. Wolves, 151 
MiERS, Edward J., F.L.S., F.Z.S. 

Crustacea from the Channel 
Islands, 433 
Moor, E, C. 

Snow Bunting on Ben Nevis in 
summer, 28; Moorhen nesting 
in a disused punt, 77 
Murdoch, John 

Note on Eider Ducks, 108 
Nelson, T. H. 

Autumnal migration of birds at 
Teesmouth, 270 
Newton, Prof. A., M.A., F.R.S. 

Swans with white cygnets, 463 


Purple Sandpiper in the Channel 
Islands, 76 



Parrott, F. Hayward 

Bats in captivity, 106 ; Yoiang of 
the Hedgehog, 424; Range of 
the Dermouse in England, 463 
Phillips, E. Cambridge, F.Z.S. 
Marten Cat in Breconshire, 190; 
Ornithological notes from Bre- 
conshire, 298 
Phillips. G. T. 

Supposed breeding of the Great 
Northern Diver in the Faeroe 
Islands, 464 ; Lesser Redpoll 
and Hawfinch nesting in Berk- 
shire, 466 


Pm-ple Heron in Lancashire, 432 
PouLTON, Edward B., M.A., F.E.S. 

Habits of Testacella haliotidea, 29 
Pow, G. 

Nesting of the Stock Dove in East 
Lothian, 235 
Prentis, Walker 

Immigration of Fieldfares, 28 

PURDY, R. J. W. 

Bittern in Norfolk, 75 
Rice, David J. 

Hawfinch nesting in Surrey, 265 
Rope, G. T. 

Weasels killing Moles, 68 ; Birds 
which sing or call at night, 73 ; 
Habits of the Long-tailed Field 
Mouse, 201 ; Enemies of the 
Toad, 392 
Sanford, Capt. E. A. 

The Missel Thrush occasionally a 
bird of prey, 263 
Seebohm, Henry, F.L.S., F.Z.S. 
Breeding of Arctic birds in Scot- 
land, 21 ; Birds' nests and eggs, 
Service, Robert 

Former existence of Ptarmigan in 
South-west Scotland, 81 ; On 
the nesting of the Tufted Duck in 
Kirkcudbrightshire, 342; Wild 
White Cattle in South- Western 
Scotland, 448 
Shakespeare, Wm. 

Osprey captured in the Bristol 
Channel, 433 
Slater, Rev. H. H., B.A., F.Z.S. 
On the Goldeneyes and Ptarmigan 
of Iceland, 422 ; The use of the 
word "feral," 461; The Bank 
Vole m Durham, 462 
Smith, George 

Nesting of the Sedge Warbler, 
28 ; The Mediterranean Black- 

headed Gull on the Norfolk 
coast, 69 
Snape, Martin 

Adders in winter, 154 
Southwell, Thomas, F.Z.S. 

Notes on the Seal and Whale 
fishery of 1886, 182 ; Common 
Rorqual at Skegness, 190 ; The 
supposed Serotine in the New- 
castle Museum, 234 ; Report on 
the migi'ation of birds, 432 
Stephens, Darell, F.L.S., F.Z.S. 
Unusual site for a Flycatcher's 
nest, 306 
Stejneger, Leonhard 

Shedding of the claws in the Ptar- 
migan and allied birds, 258 ; 
The British Marsh Tit, 379 
Swan, J. G. 

The Trepang fishery, 434 
Teschemaker, W. E. 

Swallows and Swifts in captivity, 
Theobald, F. V. 

Phalaropes, Fulmar Petrel, and 
Montagu's Harrier near Hast- 
ings, 28 
Troil, Uno von, D.D. 

Notes on the Fauna of Iceland, 254 
Tuck, Rev. Julian G. 

Harlequin Duck on the Northum- 
brian coast, 70 ; Harlequin 
Drake, 196 ; Ornithological notes 
fi-om Hunstanton, Norfolk, 384 
UssHER, Richard J. 

Ruddy Sheldrake in Ireland, 25 ; 
Blackcap in Co. Waterford in 
December, 27 ; Red-throated 
Diver breeding in Co. Donegal, 
27 ; Gray Phalaropes in Ireland, 
75 ; Fork-tailed Petrel breeding 
on islands off Co. Kerry, 349 
Vine, Joseph 

Lesser Redpoll in Middlesex, 428 
Ward, Henry A. 

The West India Seal, 191 
Warren, Robert 

Ornithological notes fi-om Mayo 
and Sligo, 296 ; Iceland Gull in 
the Moy Estuary, 468; Spotted 
Redshank in the Moy Estuary, 
Weir, J. Jenner, F.L.S., F.Z.S. 

Hybrid Finches, 113 
Whitaker, J., F.Z.S. 

Varieties of Common Wild Ducks, 
111; A pied Hare, 233; Plu- 
mage of the Tufted Duck, 235 ; 


Plovers' nests witli five eggs, 267 ; 
Thrush's nest without the usual 
lining, 268 ; Norfolk Plover nest- 
ing in Nottinghamshire, 269 ; 
Curious capture of a Snipe, 346 ; 
Male Tufted Duck retaining the 
breeding plumage, 431 

White, J. N. 

Blackcap in Co. Waterford in 
January, 236 
Wilcox, W. A. 

A man killed by a Swordfish, 307 
Williams & Son 

Eare' birds in Ireland, 75 


Abramis brama, 60 ; blicca, 60 

Acantliopterygii, 59 

Acipenser sturio, 59 

Adder, 58 

Adders in winter, 154 ; colour and 
size of, 271 

Albatross, estimated duration of life 
in an, 76 

Albino bu'ds in Co. Wicklow, 193 ; 
specimen of Short-tailed Field 
Vole, 152 

Albm-nus lucidus, 00 

Anacanthini, 59 

Ancestry of birds, 271 

Anguilla vulgaris, 61 

Anguis fragilis, 58 

Animals, Vertebrate, of Leicester- 
shne, 57 

Antlers in Ked-deer, growth of as 
observed in confinement, 321 

Aquarium, to purify water in an, 
292, 344 

Arctic birds, breeding of in Scot- 
land, 21 

Arvicola glareolus (with plate), 861 

Aspidelaps lubricus, 179 ; scutatus, 

Athanus nitescens, 147 

Atractaspis irregularis, 180 

Autumnal migration of birds at Tees- 
mouth, 270 

Avifauna of the Fseroe Islands, addi- 
tions, 73, 351 

Axius stirhynchus in Cornwall, 237 

Badger in Birmingham, 346 
Barbastelle in Sussex, 151 
Barbastellus communis 66 
Barbel, 59 
Barbus vulgaris, 59 

Bat, Bechstein's, 162 ; Greater 
Horse-shoe, food of, 262 ; Lesser 
Horse-shoe, distribution of in 
Great Britain, 89; in Herts and 
Kent, 152 ; in Wales, 152 ; Nat- 
terer's, in Sussex, 151 ; Parti- 
coloured, 162 

Batrachia, 58 

Bats, British, remarks on (with 
plate), 161 : European, a few words 
on, 61 : Horse-shoe (with plate), 1 ; 
in winter, 69; in captivity, 106; 
notes on, in North Lincolnshire, 
142; found in Merionethshire, 293, 
346 ; preyed upon by Owls, 426 

"Becker" or "Braise" iu Cornwall, 

Bees occupying birds' nests, 238, 

Belostomidae and other fish-destroy- 
ing Bugs, 101 

Birds, Arctic, breeding in Scotland 
21 ; observed in North Devon, 71 
which sing or call at night, 73 
rare, in Ireland, 75 ; albino, ob 
served iir the Harrogate district 
110 ; albino, in Co. Wicklow, 193 
autumnal migration of at Tees 
moiith, 270; ancestry of, 271 
Roller and other, in the Isle of 
Wight, 386 ; Ceylon, folk-lore of, 
389 ; report on the migration of, 
432 ; uncommon, near Scar- 
borough, 467 

Bird's nest, singular, 306 

Birds' nests, Bees occupying, 238, 
273 ; and eggs, 137 

Bittern ii\ Norfolk, 75 

Blackbird laying in Thrusli's nest, 



Blackcap in Co. Waterford in De- 
cember, 27 ; in January, 236 
Black-veined White, scarcity of, 197 
Bleak, 60 
Blind-worm, 68 
Bluetln-oat in Norfolk, 70 
Boidai, 174 
Boodon lineatus, 178 

Books reviewed : — 

Letters on Sport in Eastern Ben- 
gal, by Frank B. Simson. 36 

Catalogue of the Birds of Suffolk, 
by Churchill Babiugton, D.D., 

British Birds' Eggs ; a Handbook 
of British Oology, by A. G. 
Butler, 40 

A Nomenclatm-e of Colours for 
Naturalists, and Compendium 
of Useful Knowledge for Or- 
nithologists, by Robert Ridgway, 

Die Waldschnepfe ; Ein Mono- 
graphischer Beitrag zur Jagd- 
zoologie, von Dr. Julius Hoff- 
mann, 313 

A Year with the Bkds, by an 
Oxford Student, 316 

A Bibliography of the Books re- 
lating to Fancy Pigeons, by 
T. B. Coombe Williams, 319 

Rough Notes on the Birds observed 
during Twenty Years' Shooting 
and Collecting in the British 
Islands, by E. T. Booth, 358 

Ocean Birds, by J. F. Green, 395 

Report on the Migration of Birds 
in the Spring and Av;tumn of 
1886, by a Committee of the 
British Association, 397 

The Mammoth and the Flood, by 
Henry H. Howorth, M.P., 438 
Brambling, varieties of the, 74 
Bream, Common, 60 ; Ray's, at 

Scilly, 393 ; White, 60 
Breeding of Arctic birds in Scotland, 

21 ; of Red-throated Diver in Co. 

Donegal, 27 ; of Cnl Bunting near 

Godalming, 303 ; habits of Siskin 

as observed in Co. Wicklow, 338 ; 

of Fork-tailed Petrel on islands off 

Co. Kerry, 349; of the Tufted 

Duck in Aberdeenshire, 427, 465 ; 

supj)osed, of the Great Northern 

Diver in the Fseroe Islands, 464 
Bucephalus capeusis, 177 
Bugs, fish-destroying, 101 

Bimting, Cirl, breeding near Godal- 
ming, 303 ; Corn, mimicry of, 300 ; 
Snow, on Ben Nevis in summer, 
28, — breeding in confinement, 391 

Burbat, 59 

Bustard, Little, in Sussex, 111 

Buzzard, Honey, in Dorset, 350 

Carp, 69 

Cat attacked by a Swallow, 345 

Caterpillars, usefulness of Rook in 

destroying, 109 
Cattle, Wild White, present condition 

of the existing herds, 401 ; in 

South-Western Scotland, 448 
Causus rhombeatus, 180 
Chaffinch, song of, 299, 348,— in 

autumn, 431 
Chiffchaff 's nest, curious site for, 304 
Chiroptera, British species of, 157 
Choristodon concolor, 176 
Chub, 60 
Claws, shedding of in the Ptarmigan 

and allied birds, 268 
Cliff-birds at Dover, 294 
Cobitis tienia, 60 
Coloration of the Viper, 306, 858 
Colubridae, 58, 174 
Coot, wing-spm- of the, 107 
Cormorants roosting on a church, 

Coronella cana, 175 ; phocarum, 

Cottidse, 59 
Cottus gobio, 59 

Courser, Cream-coloured, in Cardi- 
ganshire, 269 
Crab, Livid Swimming, at Penzance, 

Crake, Spotted, in Shetland, 72 
Craneflies preyed upon by Gulls and 

Terns, 356 
Crenilabrus exoletus at Penzance, 308 
Crossbills at Rynn, Queen's Co., Ill, 

— in Kent, 432 
Crustacea, British Stalk-eyed, notes 

and observations on, 146 ; fi'om 

the Channel Islands, 433 
Curlew, Eqquimaux, at Scilly, 388 
Cyclopterus lumpus at Scilly, 196 
Cypriuidte, 59 
Cyprinus carpio, 69 

Dace, 60 . 

Dasypeltis scabra, 179 
Dendraspis angusticeps, 179 
Dippers, young, taking to the water, 



Diver, Eed-throated, breeding in Co. 
Donegal, 27 ; Great Northern, sup- 
posed breeding in the Faeroe 
Islands, 464 

Dormice in a garden, 106 

Dormouse in a Woodpecker's nest, 
69 ; sleep of the, 281 ; range in 
England, 463 

Dove, Stock, nesting in East Lothian, 
235 ; open nest of, 346 ; and Tawny 
Owl, open nests of, 432 

Dryophis kirtlandii, 177 

Duck, Harlequin, on the Northum- 
brian coast, 70, 196 ; Long-tailed, 
in Cumberland, 432; Tufted, 
plumage of, 112, 235, — nesting in 
Kirkcudbrightshire, 342,— on the 
Solway, 385, — breeding in Aber- 
deenshire, 427, 465, — male retain- 
ing breeding plumage, 431 ; Wild, 
variety of, 69 

Ducks, Common Wild, varieties of, 
111 ; Eider, note on, 108 

Dysopes Kiippelii, 62 

Eel, 31 

Egg-drill, new, 236, 305, 352 

Eggs, spotted, Eedstart laying, 303 ; 
of the same species, disparity in 
size and colom- of, 387 

Elaps dorsalis, 180 ; higise, 180 ; 
sundwaUii, 180 

Emberiza melauocephala, reported 
occurrence of in Scotland, 193 

Enemies of the Toad, 392 

Entomology, practical, at South Ken- 
sington, 237 

Esocidse, 60 

Esox lucius, 60 

Essex Field Club, 23 

Fseroe Islands, additions to the Avi- 
fauna, 73, 351 

Fauna of Iceland, notes, 254 

" Feral," use of the word, 461 

Field Club, Esses, 23 

Fieldfares, immigration, 28 ; scaxcity, 

Finch, Citril, reported occurrence of 
near Brighton, 72 

Finches, hybrid, 113 

Finwhale fishery of 1886 on the Lap- 
land coast, 207 

Fisheries, pearl, of Australia, 289 

Fishery, Seal and Whale, of 1886, 
183 ; the Trepaug, 434 

Flycatcher, Spotted, food, 269 

Flycatcher's nest, unusual site, 306, 

Folk-lore of Ceylon birds, 389 
Food of Greater Horse-shoe Bat, 262 ; 
of Spotted Flycatcher, 269; of 
the Smew, 271 ; of the Mistletoe 
Thrush, 427 
Fur trade of London, 23 

Gadidae, 59 

Gadus poUachius, facts in the life- 
history, 241; breeding, 246 ; dis- 
eases, 244; enemies, 245; growth, 
247; parasites, 244 

Ganoidei, 59 

Gasterosteidae, 59 

Gosterosteus aculeatus, 59 

Gatcombe, Mr. John, death of, 233 

Gobius fluviatilis, 60 . 

Goldeneyes and Ptarmigan of Ice- 
land, 422 

Goose, White-bellied Brent, distribu- 
tion of the, 29, 152 

Grampus or Killer on the coast of 
Norway, 383 

Gray, Mr. Robert, death of, 106 

Grayling, 61 

Greenfinch, late nesting, 429; and 
Linnet, hybrid, 303 

Greenfinches, hybrid, 266 

Greenland Seas, notes on a voyage 
to the, in 1886, 48, 94, 121 (with 

" Grouse disease," 265, 302 ; Eeport 
on, 327 

Gudgeon, 60 

GuU, Little, in Co. Durham, 26 ; 
Mediterranean Black-headed, on 
the Norfolk coast, 69 ; Glaucous, 
on the Essex coast, 466 ; Iceland, 
on the Essex coast, 466, — in the 
Moy Estuary, 468 

Gulls and Terns, Craneflies preyed 
upon by, 355 

Habits of Wildfowl, 3 ; of the Weasel, 
24 ; of Testacella haliotidea, 29 ; 
of the Green Sandpiper, 110; 
change of m Brown Rat, 189, 234 ; 
of the Long-tailed Field Mouse 
(with plate), 201 ; of Rooks, 268 

Hare, Hedgehog attacking a, 233 ; 
a pied, 233 ; parasitic disease in, 

HaiTier, Montagu's, in Notts, 26 ; 
near Hastings, 28 ; dark variety of 
in Hants, 352 ; nesting in Dorset- 
shire, 464 

Hawfinch at Harrogate, 153 ; nesting 
in Surrey, 265, — in Yorkshhe, 



299,— in Kent, 303,— in Berkshire, 

Hedgehog attacking a Hare, 233 ; 

mode in which Vipers are killed 

by, 306, 392 ; eating swedes, 345 ; 

yoiing of, 424 
Heron, Purple, in Lancashire, 432 
Heterolepis capensis, 178 ; gueinzii, 

Holothurians or Sea Slugs (with 

ilhistrations), 41 
Homalosoma h;trix, 175 
Hornless Stags, 381 
Humming-bird, nesting of, 459 
Humpback, 212 
Hybrid finches, 113 ; Greenfinches, 

266 ; Greenfinch and Linnet, 303 
Hyppolyte Cranchii, 149 ; culteUata, 

150 ; pandaliformis, 150 ; Pride- 

auxiana, 150; seciu-ifrons, 150; 

spinus, 148; Thompsoni, 150; 

varians, 149 

Immigration of Fieldfares, 28 
Inachus dorynchus at Penzance, 116 

Jackdaw, jpaired varieties, 196; 
taking possession of Magpie's nest, 

Kestrel, plumage, 112, 113, 154; and 

Slow-worm, 263 
Knot on the West Coast of Scotland, 

428, 464 

Lacerta agilis, 57; vivipara, 58 

Lacertidse, 57 

Lampern, 61 

Lamprophis aurora, 177 ; fiskii, 177 ; 

rufiilus, 177 
Leicestershu-e, Vertebrate animals 

of, 57 
Leptodira piinctata, 178 ; rufescens, 

178 ; semiannulata, 179 
Leuciscus cephalus, 60 ; erythrop- 

thalmus, 60 ; phoxinus, 60 ; rutilus, 

60; vulgaris, 60 
LimnaeidiE, secretion of a violet- 
coloured fluid by certain, 309 
Linnet and Greenfinch, hybrid, 303 
Lizard, Common, 58 ; Sand, 57 
Loach, 60 : Spined, 60 
Long-eared Owl laying in Book's 

nest, 304 
Lota vulgaris, 59 
Lumpsucker on the Welsh coast, 

Lycophidium capensis, 177 

Magpie's nest. Jackdaw taking pos- 
session of, 267 
Mares and Foals versus Wolves, 151 
Marine MoUusca of Kerry, 115 
Marten Cat in Breconshire, 190 
Martin, Sand, attempt to keep in 

confinement, 347 
Martins, House, nesting in October, 

194 ; late stay, 467 
Martins' nests. Swifts nesting in, 348, 

391, 428 
Migration, autumnal, of birds at 

Teesmouth, 270 ; report on, 432 
Migration of Wildfowl, 3 
Miller's-thumb, 59 
Mimicry of the Corn Bunting, 800 
Minnow, 60 

Mole, Talpa europaea {Linn.), 441 
Moles, Weasels killing, 68 
MoUusca, Marine, of Kerry, 115 ; 

Middlesex, 354 
Moorhen nesting in a disused punt, 

77; wing-spur of the, 107 
More, Mr. A. G., retirement, 355 
Mouse, Long-tailed Field, habits of 

the (with plate), 201 
Mursenidse, 61 
Myoxus glis, sleep, 281 

Naia haie, 179 

Nemachilus barbatulus, 60 

Nest of Woodpecker, Dormouse in, 
69 ; of Thrush, Blackbird laying 
in, 194; Woodcock and Pheasant 
laying in the same, 194 ; of Mag- 
pie, Jackdaw taking possession of, 
267; Chiffchaff's, ciu-ious site, 304; 
Eook's, Long-eared Owl laying in, 
304; bird's, singiilar, 306; Fly- 
catcher's, unusual site, 306 ; Swal- 
low's, unusual site for, 467 

Nesting of Sedge Warbler, 28; of 
Lesser Kedpoll in Surrey, 69, — in 
Middlesex, 428 ; of Moorhen in a 
disused punt, 77; of Thrush on 
the ground, 112 ; of Hoitse Martins 
in October, 194 ; of Stock Dove in 
East Lotliian, 235 ; of Marsh War- 
bler in Gloiicestershire, 264; of 
Hawfinch in Surrey, 265 ; of Nor- 
folk Plover in Nottinghamshire, 
269 ; of Hawfinch in Kent, 303 ; 
of Common Sandpiper, 305 ; of 
Tufted Duck in Kirkcudbright- 
shire, 342 ; of Wryneck in holes 
in the ground, 391 ; late, of Green- 
finch, 429 ; habits of the Hum- 
ming-bird, 459 ; of Montagu's 



Harrier in Dorsetshire, 464; of 
Lesser KedpoU and Hawfinch in 
Berkshire, 466 

Nesting-site, imnsual, for the Tree 
Sparrow, 265 ; for Wryneck, 299 

Nests, Birds', Bees occupying, 238, 
273 ; Plovers', with five eggs, 267, 
349; of Thrushes without the 
usual lining, 268 ; open, of the 
StarHng, Stock Dove, and Tawny 
Owl, 347 ; Martins', Swifts nesting 
m, 348, 391, 428 ; open, of Tawny 
Owl and Stock Dove, 432 

Nightingale singing in July, 306 ; in 
Scotland, 384 

Nika Couchii, 147 ; eduhs, 145 

Noctule, northern limit of the range 
of the, in Great Britain, 260 

Notes on a voyage to the Greenland 
Seas in 1866, 48, 94, 121 (with 
plate) ; on Bats in North Lincoln- 
shu-e, 142 ; on the Seal and Whale 
fishery of 1886, 182 ; on the Orni- 
thology of Northamptonshire and 
neighbourhood, 249, 452 ; on the 
Fauna of Iceland, 254; from 
Western Australia, 352 

Octopus at Penzance, 309 ; Hawaiian 
mode of fishing for, 354 

Ophidia, 58 

Ornithological notes from Brecon- 
shire, 298 ; from Devon and Corn- 
wall, 375 ; from Hiinstanton, Nor- 
folk, 384 ; from Mayo and Sligo, 
296; from Norfolk and Suffolk, 
415; from North Norfolk, 140; 
from Oxfordshire, 288, 301 

Ornithology of Northamptonshhe 
and neighbourhood, 249, 452 

Osprey in Hertfordshire, 390 ; cap- 
tm-ed in the Bristol Channel, 433 

Otters, young, in August, 67 

Ouzel, Ring, note, 305 

Owl, Tawny, open nests, 347 ; and 
of Stock Dove, 432 

Owl, Bats preyed upon by, 426 

Partridges with "white horse-shoes," 

Pearl fisheries of Austraha, 289 
Perca fluviatilis, 59 
Perch, 59 
Percidae, 59 
Petrel, Fulmar, near Hastings, 28 ; 

Fork-tailed, breeding on islands 

off Co. Kerry, 349; Storm, in 

London, 27 

Petromyzon fluviatilis, 61 

Petromyzontidse, 61 

Phalaropes near Hastings, 28 ; Grey, 
in Ireland, 75 

Pheasant and Woodcock laying in 
same nest, 194 

Philothamnus hoplogaster, 176 ; 
natalensis, 176 

Physostomi, 59 

Pigeons, Wood, casting up pellets, 
193, 236 

Pipit, Tawny, near Brighton, 432; 
Tree, note, 433 

Pisces, 59 

Plecotus, genus, 165 

Plecotus auritus, 66, 294 

Plover, Norfolk, nesting in Notting- 
hamshire, 269 

Plovers' nests with five eggs, 276, 349 

Plumage of the Tufted Duck, 112, 
235; of the Kestrel, 112, 113, 154 

Pochard, White-eyed, m Norfolk, 195 

Pollack, facts m the life-history, 241 

Porphyrio, Green-backed, 195 

Psamophis crucifer, 176 ; sibilans, 

Psammophylax multimaculatus,175 ; 
rhombeatus, 170 

Ptarmigan, former existence of in 
South-West Scotland, 81, 194; 
alleged existence of in Cumber- 
land, 153 ; and allied birds, on the 
shedding of the claws in the, 258 ; 
and Goldeneyes of Iceland, 422 

Pufhn in London, 263; on the 
Thames in July, 263; Pied, at 
St. Kilda, 347 ; and Whimbrel in 
Somersetshire, 466 

Python natalensis, 174 

Rabbit destruction in Australia, cost, 

Rail, Water, wing-spiu-, 107 
Rat, Brown, change of habits, 189, 

234; Black, in Wexford, 425; 

Musk, and the Unio, 425 
Razorbill at St. ICilda, 347 
Red-deer as observed in confinement, 

growth of antlers, 321 ; a herd of 

from a single hmd, 344 
Redpoll, Lesser, nesting in Sm-rey, 

69— in Middlesex, 428,— in Berk- 

shke, 466 
Redshank, Spotted, in the Moy 

Estuary, 468 
Redstart, Black, in Co. Waterford, 

196 ; laying spotted eggs, 303 
Reptilia, 57 



Bhamphiophis multimaculatis, 176 

Bhinolophidse, 166, 167 

Ehinolophus, genus, 166 

Ehinolophiis bihastatus, 63 ; euryale, 
63 ; ferrum-equinum, 2, 63 ; hippi- 
soderos, 2, 294 

Roach, 60 

Boe-deer in Cumberland, 382 

Boiler and other birds in the Isle of 
Wight, 386 

Book, usefulness in destroying cater- 
pillars, 109 ; Long-eared Owl lay- 
ing in nest of, 304 

Books, habits of, 268 

Borqual, Common, at Skegness, 190, 
— in Norway, 215 ; Rudolphi's, 
219 ; Small, at Plymouth, 262 

Budd, 60 

Salmo fario, 61 ; salar, 61 

Salmon, 61 

Salmonidffi, 61 

Sandpiper, Common, nesting of, 305 ; 
Curlew, iu Shetland, 72; Green, 
habits of, 110 ; Pectoral, in Nor- 
folk, 433 ; Purple, in the Channel 
Islands, 76 

Sauria, 57 

Scabbard-fish on the Cornish coast, 

Scarcity of Fieldfares, 71 

Scincidae, 58 

Scotophilus noctula, 142 ; pipistrel- 
lus, 143 

Seal, West India, 191 

Seal and Whale fishery of 1886, 
notes on, 183 

Sepedon haemachetes, 179 

Serotine, the supposed, in the New- 
castle Museum, 234 

Shark, Thresher, at Portland, 393 

Shearwater, Manx, in Gloucester, 
388, — in Herefordshire, 430, — in 
Staffordshire, 430 ; Sooty, at Flam- 
borough, 430 

Sheldrake, Buddy, in Ireland, 25 ; 
or "Bar-goose" on the Essex 
coast, 195 

Shrike, Great Grey, in Kent, 154 

Siskin, breeding habits of as observed 
in Co. Wicklow, 338 

Sleep of the Dormouse, 281 

Slow-worm and Kestrel, 263 ; at- 
tacked by a Missel Thrush, 307 
Slugs, Sea (with illustrations), 41 
Smew, food, 271 

Snails, muscular power, 114 ; rate of 
progress, 309 

Snake, Common, 51 

Snakes of South Africa, synopsis, 

Snipe, curious capture, 346 

Societies, Scientific : — 
Entomological, 34, 80, 119, 159, 
199, 239, 277, 312, 357, 393, 
436, 471 
Linnean, 30, 77, 117, 155, 273, 469 
Zoological, 31, 79, 118, 156, 197, 
238, 275, 310, 469 

Song of the Chaffinch, 299, 348, 431 

Sparrow, House, misdeeds of, 390 ; 
Tree, unusual nesting site, 265 

Sponges, striicture and life-history, 

Squu'rels at a distance from trees, 

Stags, hornless, 381 

Starling, open nest, 347 

Stenostoma nigricans, 173 

StenotomatidjE, 173 

Stickleback, Three-spined, 59 

Stoat, white, iu August, 345 

Sturgeon, 59 

Surmullet, Plain, on the Devonshii-e 
coast, 155 

Swallow in Somersetshire in Decem- 
ber, 269; Cat attacked by, 345; 
unusual site for nest of, 467 

Swallows and Swifts in captivity, 

Swans with white cygnets, 463 

Swan, Bewick's, in Norfolk, 195 

Swift, late stay of in Ireland, 428 

Swifts nesting in Martins' nests, 348, 
391, 428; and Swallows in cap- 
tivity, 372 

Swordfish, a man killed by, 307 

Synotus, genus, 165 

Talpa europaea, 441 

Tarantula, Wasp attacking, 310 

Temnorhynchus sundevallii, 175 

Tench, 60 

Tern, Black, near Gloucester, 299 ; 
Gull-billed, m Belfast Lough, 433 ; 
White-winged, in Cornwall and 
Scilly, 387 : Caspian, iu England, 

Terns, Lesser and Black, near 
Gloucester, 387 ; Noddy and Sooty, 
nidificalion in the West Indies, 429 

Testacella haliotidea, habits, 29 

Thrush, Blackbird laying in the nest 
of, 194 ; nesting on the ground, 
112 ; White's, in the SciUy Islands, 
114; Missel, occasionally a bird of 



prey, 263, 304, — feeding on Pieris 
rapee, 429, — Slow-worm attacked 
by, 307 ; Mistletoe, food, 427 

Thrush's nests without the usual 
lining, 268 

Thymallus vulgaris, 61 

Tinea vulgaris, 60 

Tit, Marsh, the British, 379 

Toad, enemies of the, 392 

Trochilus colubris, nesting habits, 

Troglodytes parvulus a migrant, 431 

Tropidonotus natrix, 58 

Trout, Common, 61 

Tunny, at Penzance, 307 

Typhlopidae, 173 

Tyj)hlops bibronii, 174; capensis, 
174; delalandii, 174; mossam- 
bicus, 174 ; verticalis, 174 

Unio and the Musk Eat, 425 

Uriechis capensis, 176 ; microlepi- 
dotus, 175 

Varieties of the Brambling, 74; of 
common Wild Ducks, 111 ; paired, 
of Jackdaw, 196 ; of the Viper, 237 

Variety of Wild Duck, 69 ; dark, of 
Montagu's Harrier, in Hants, 352 

Vertebrate animals of Leicester- 
shire, 57 

Vespertilio, genus, 164 

Verpertilio bechsteini, 162 ; dasyc- 
neme, 162 ; daubentonii, 143, 293 ; 
kuhlii, 66 ; murinus, 64, 161, — 
reported occurrence of in Dorset- 
shire, 234 ; mystacinus, 66, 294 ; 
Nattereri, 64, 143 ; noctula, 63 ; 
pipistrellus, 65, 293 ; Schreibersii, 
65 ; serotinus, 65 

Vespertilionidse, 163, 167 

Vesperugo, genus, 163 

Vesperugo discolor, 162 ; noctula, 293 

Viper, varieties, 237 ; coloration,)306, 
353 ^ 

Vipers, mode in which they are 
killed by the Hedgehog, 306, 392 

Vipera arietans, 181 ; atropoides, 
181 ; atropos, 181 ; berus, 68 ; 
caudalis, 181 ; cornuta, 182 ; in- 
ornata, 181 ; schneideri, 181 

Viperidse, 58, 181 

Vole, Bank (with plate), 361, — dis- 
tribution, 425, — in Durham, 462, — 
in Northamptonshire, 463, — in 
Sussex, 462 ; Short-tailed Field, 
albino specimen, 152 

Voyage to the Greenland Seas in 
1886, 48, 94, 121 (with plate) 

Warbler, Marsh, in Gloucestershire, 
nesting, 264 ; Sedge, nesting, 28 

Wasp attacking a Tarantula, 310 

Water in an aquarium, to purify, 

Waxwing in Aberdeenshire, 70 

Weasel, habits, 24 

Weasels killing Moles, 68 

Whale, Blue, 213 ; and Seal Fishery 
of 1886, 183 

Wheatear, spring moult, 300 

Whimbrel and Puffin in Somerset- 
shire, 466 

Wildfowl, habits and migrations, 3 

Wild White Cattle, British, present 
condition of the existing herds, 
401, — in South- Western Scotland, 

Wing-spur of the Coot, Moorhen, 
and Water Rail, 107 

Woodcock and Plaeasant laying in 
same nest, 194 

Woodpecker, Green, an egg-sucker, 

Woodpecker's nest. Dormouse in, 69 

Wryneck, unusual nesting-site, 299 ; 
nesting in holes in the groimd, 391 

Young of the Hedgehog, 424 


To face Page 

The Greater Horse-shoe Bat, Bhinolejphus ferrutn-eqioinum . 1 

Greenland Whale, BalcBiia mysticetus 121 

The Noctule, Vesperugo noctula 161 

The Long-tailed Field Mouse, Mus sylvaticus , . . 201 

The Bank Vole, Arvicola glareolus 361 

The Mole, Tal;pa europcea 441 

Zool.JaiiLia.T'v 1887. 


' ."OL^p ^a nat del . 
ITutohinson Hth. 

■|'he Greater Hor-se-sVioe BsLt. 

West.Newm^Ti & Cc 



Vol. XL] JANUARY, 1887. [No. J21. 


By the Editor. 

(Plate I.) 

Notwithstanding the close attention which is now-a-clays 
paid to British Zoology by observers in all parts of the country, 
the Bats (with two or three exceptions) are still very imperfectly 
known. Their crepuscular habits, their rapid movements on 
the wing, and their retired and frequently inaccessible haunts, 
render them at all times difficult to procure for identification 
or examination. 

In the last edition of Bell's 'British Quadrupeds' (1874) 

fourteen species are recognised as British, and are placed in 

five different genera. Of these the two Horse-shoe Bats 

belonging to the genus EhmolopJrus are amongst the rarest or 

least known. The generic characters indicated by Bell are as 

follows : — 

2 5-5 

"Incisors -j-, molars rr-?;. Nostrils with two foliaceous 
4 6-6 

appendages; the posterior one erect and pointed posteriorly, 
the anterior one horse-shoe shaped, and expanded over the top 
of the nose. Ears lateral, free ; tragus wanting. Wing-mem- 
branes extending only to the distal extremity of the tibia ; tail 
short, enclosed in the membrane." 

The use of the singular leaf-Hke appendage upon the nose 
has not been satisfactorily determined. GeoftVoy supposed it 

ZOOLOGIST. — JAN. 1887. ^ 


was intended to close the nostrils -when not in use ; Bell regards 
it as a delicate organ of touch, enabling the owner to avoid 
collisions when threading its way through intricate places. 

Two species of the genus are found in the British Islands, 

the Greater and the Lesser Horse-shoe Bats, Rhinolophus 

ferrum-equinum and R. Jtij^posideros. Both are partial to dark 

caverns and deserted buildings, shunning the hght as much as 

possible, and flying late in the evening until dark. 

On the wing^the Greater Horse-shoe Bat appears as large as 
a Noctule, equalling that species in expanse of wing, but to a 
practised eye it is distinguishable by the proportionately greater 
width of the flying membrane. It was first made known as a 
British species by Latham, who procured specimens in the 
saltpetre-houses at the powder-mills at Dartford, clinging in a 
torpid state in winter to the roof. Since then it has been met 
with and procured in several other localities in the southern and 
western counties of England, including Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, 
and Glamorganshire, being considered rare in the midland 
counties, and altogether unknown in the north. (See ' Zoologist,' 
1884, p. 483). 

The Lesser Horse-shoe Bat, R. hqjposideros, which was for 

some time regarded as a small variety of the larger species, was 

first recognised in England by Montagu, who procured specimens 

in Wiltshire, and like its larger congener is chiefly restricted to 

the southern counties of England. 

In Ireland the larger species is unknown, but the smaller 

one has been found in Galway by Prof. King, and in different 
parts of Clare by Mr. Foot and Prof. Kinahan. (See Proc. Nat. 
Hist. Soc, Dublin, vol.ii. p. 152, and 'Zoologist,' 1861, p. 7617). 
All the caves in which specimens were found (in Clare) were in 
plantations, or near them, and most of them had the entrances 
hung with plants. Prom the observations of Prof. Kinahan it 
appears that the sexes hybernate apart. The particular respects 
in which the two species of Rhinolophus differ have been pointed 
out by Bell {op. cit. p. 100), and need not therefore be repeated 

As few really good figures of Bats are accessible, those in 
Bell's work being almost too small to be of much use, it is very 
desirable that no opportunity should be lost of obtaining correct 
drawings of the rarer species whenever they can be procured 


alive, or in a fresh condition, so as to secure an accurate delinea- 
tion of the natural features before they become distorted or 
shrunk in the process of drying. As a first contribution to such 
a series, we give a plate of Rhiiiolophnsferncin-equimim, drawn 
by Mr. G. E. Lodge from a living specimen procured by the 
Eev. H. A. Macpherson in South Devon in August last. 

The measurements, taken after death, from another specimen 
procured at the same time and place, and now preserved in the 
Natural History Museum, South Kensington, are (compared with 
the measurements given by Bell) as under : — 

Leugtli of head 

and b( 

3dy - 

2-5 iu. 


ngth of humerus 

- 1.3 iu. 





1-2 „ 


forearm - 

- 1-9 „ 





•9 „ 


longest digit 

- 31 „ 





•9 „ 



- -9 „ 

Width of 

ear - 



•3 „ 



of wing 

• 11'5 „ 

On comparing these measurements with those given by Bell, 
it should be noted that the latter are given in inches and lines. 
The expanse of wing is apparently very variable. One procured 
in Dorchester by Mr. James Salter measured in extent of wing 
14| inches. The weight of the specimen above referred to from 
Devonshire was little more than half an ounce the day after 

By Alfked Crawhall Chapman. 

In Northumberland the autumnal immigration of fowl com- 
mences in July, and is continued throughout the remaining 
months of the year. Waders generally arrive before the migratory 
ducks and geese, and it is usually the latter end of September 
before any of the latter appear upon our coasts. 

Wigeon are usually the first to make their appearance, and 
they are, I think, followed by arrivals of foreign-bred Mallard. 
Then, about the middle of October, the Scaup and Goldeneye 
arrive, and at any time after this date the resident winter 
ducks and divers may be looked for. Teal are of course to 
be found during the month of August and onwards, but 


I have not been able to discriminate between home and foreign- 
bred Teal, and therefore their date of arrival is not easy to 
define exactlj\ 

This year (1886) the first flight of Wigeon arrived on the 
11th September. This is an earlier date than usual for them, 
and generally they may not be expected for at least ten days to a 
fortnight later. This was only a small companj^, however, and 
not until Sept. 19th did another small lot of about thirty birds 
arrive. On October 4th several comj)anies arrived on the coast, 
and after this date there is a constant increment of Wigeon, until 
their regular winter numbers are made up. It is generally' 
supposed that Wigeon are night- feeding birds, and that they 
spend the day at rest in some open extent of water, free from 
molestation. On this coast, however, when they first ai'rive their 
habits are very different from this, and they prefer to feed on the 
ooze during the daytime, spending the night at rest on some 
secluded pond or lake. I have come to this conclusion after 
carefully studying their habits, and I have frequently seen them, 
after quietly feeding all day, leave the ooze just before dusk, and 
betake themselves to a neighbouring pond, where they spend the 
night, returning to the ooze to feed shortly after daybreak. 
During this period, however, their numbers are wofully reduced 
by punt-gunners, and by the end of November — by which time 
mostly all the regular winter stock has arrived — they have 
assumed the habit of feeding almost exclusively by night, 
spending the day on the open sea. 

It would be interesting to know what course tliey would 
pursue if left entirely unmolested. From their habits during the 
early weeks of their arrival I cannot help thinking that they are 
forced by man to assume a habit at variance with what appears 
to be their wont, and the same remarks apply to Grey Geese 
feeding inland, as I hope to show farther on. 

Tidal influences, of course, affect the Wigeon, and there is no 
doubt that during a short winter's day, when their feeding-grounds 
are submerged, they would resort at night to the uncovered oozes 
to feed ; but, given the opportunity, they unquestionably avail 
themselves of a diurnal feed, until they are scared away by the 
deadly fire of punt-gunners. 

Moreover, the flocks tliat arrive first are composed mostly 
of young birds of the year, inexperienced to the dangers of an 


approaching punt-gun. These are the bii'ds which, feeding by 
day, suffer most, but as soon as the older birds arrive — though 
they too, with the young birds, resort at first to day-feeding — it 
only takes a very short time to put them well on the alert, and 
after that not a Wigeon will be found on the oozes, channels, or 
mudflats during daytime, except under the circumstances of 
exceptional stress of weather, when, weakened and reduced by a 
state of semi-starvation, they are glad to avail themselves of 
either diurnal or nocturnal feeds. I am aware that this does not 
harmonize with much that has been written on the subject, but I 
can only say that it is what actually takes place in the tidal 
estuaries of Northumberland. 

Though the earliest comers are mostly young birds, yet there 
are some old ones amongst them, and as early as Sept. SOth I 
have seen the white speculum in the wings of some "Wigeon, a 
sure sign of maturity. 

Wigeon feed on grass, and they can frequently be seen during 
the day paddling and swimming along the margins of a mudbank, 
pulling off the salt-grass fi'om its edges. 

In the autumn of 1881, a small flight of Wigeon were ob- 
served to alight on the ornamental water in Roker Park, in the 
suburbs of Sunderland. The pond was frozen at the time, and 
one of the birds (a female) was taken at night in a net. A drake 
was procured from Norway, and in the summer of 1885 the duck 
made a nest, laid seven eggs, and hatched out five young. 

They are all healthy and flourishing as I write. On July 2nd, 
1886, the same old duck was again missing. She had made a 
nest on the side of one of the artificial channels in the park, and 
though she laid eight eggs they never hatched. Strange to say, 
about October 16th ult., another wild female Wigeon joined the 
original seven, and has remained with them ever since ; they are 
all quite tame. About the same date, — viz. the 16th October 
last, — an immature Goldeneye suddenly appeared on this piece of 
water ; it too has remained ever since, and appears to have taken 
up its quarters for good. At present it will not actually come 
close up to one, as the Wigeon do, but swims about and dives 
unconcernedly within a few paces ; nor does it associate with any 
of the other dxicks on the pond, but always remains alone. 

Now as to Mallards ; an old drake shot September 20th this 
year did not show a trace of green about his head, and the 


plumage generally resembled that of the duck. Another killed 
on October 22nd was already in his handsome winter plumage, 
every feather clean and perfect. 

This change of plumage is perhaps one of the most extra- 
ordinary we have in Nature, and it is well set out in ' The 
Zoologist' for June last (pp. 228 — 233). It is said— and I think 
with perfect right— that Mallards are night-feeding birds, 
spending the daytime in secluded rest. Though I have frequently 
met with tliem during the daytime, sitting both on the salt-slakes 
and on the banks of streamlets winding through the sandwashes, 
I never saw them feeding at this time. They are generally sitting 
all huddled up, their heads stowed away under their scapulars, 
simply passing the time away until " the sun takes the hill," when 
they betake themselves to the outlet of some freshwater stream 
running down from the country into the salt-slakes. Where such 
a place as this exists Mallards are nearly sure to frequent it at 
night, and none know this better than the flight-shooters. Many 
a countryman after his day's work is done shoulders his muzzle- 
loader, and if the moon is favourable he has a fair chance of 
getting a shot, aye, and sometimes half a dozen or more shots at 
Mallards as they come to feed at their favourite stream. Though 
Mallards have a distinct predilection for freshwater food, yet 
they do not hesitate to frequent also the saltwater pools and 
runners left by the ebb. 

Pochards are seldom met with on the coast of Northumber- 
land, and are never numerous. On the 22nd October last a 
duck flew past me when in the punt which I think can have been 
no other than a Pochard, though this is the only time I have ever 
come across it, and on the 7th October last one was killed by a 
local gunner near Ryhope, Co. Durham. 

During the month of September, Teal are to be found 
regularly in the salt-slakes, and it is rather singular what becomes 
of these birds in the later autumn months. Towards the end of 
the month of August, and right through September, Teal are 
perhaps the most numerous of the Duck tribe on the coast. 
These are probably the birds that have been bred on our upland 
moors, but after September they generally disappear. Though 
the difl"erence between home and foreigu-bred Mallards is suffi- 
ciently palpable, I have never been able to discriminate between 
home and foreign-bred Teal, and it seems as if the coast of 


Northumberland was not liarticularly well adapted to their habits, 
as they certainly never appear all through the winter months in 
anything like large numbers. Little bunches of four or five are 
occasionally met with, but thej' are never so numerous as are 
Wigeon and Mallard. During ten days' shooting in October last 
I never saw a Teal, while in September I saw them every day. 
When in company they sometimes keep up a regular chorus as 
they " chatter " to each other. Six Scaup Ducks arrived on the 
coast on the 19th October last; previous to this date none had 
been seen. 

I came across six Scaups, probably the same birds, early 
in the morning of October 23rd. They were very tame, and 
allowed the punt to come quite near them, when I secured 
two of them. No. 1 was, from its general appearance, an adult 
female. The beak was blue, with a black tip ; a black line ran 
along the centre line of the upper mandible, and the edges of the 
mandibles were also black. The whole of the head and neck was 
brown, with the exception of the white face extending all round 
the forehead, and reaching nearly as far as the eyes, which were 
straw-yellow, as in an adult. The legs and feet were pale blue, 
with the usual duskj'^ black marks on the joints of the toes. But 
on close examination faint black bars might be seen, especially 
about the ear-coverts and lower part of the neck, but these marks 
were still hardly visible on the crown of the head. The upper 
back was plain brown, and the breast was a mixture of very light 
and very dark browns, but the edges of each of the latter feathers 
were white. The stomach to vent was white. The flanks were 
brown, but the edges and centres of these feathers were gradually 
turning a fine silver-brindled grey. The back itself was brown, 
each feather assuming a brindled grey colour. The primaries 
were brown, with deep brown shafts ; secondaries white, but 
tipped with black ; tertiaries and scapulars a deep bronze colour 
with a fine sheen, the greater coverts being the same. The tail 
was brown. Yet this bird on dissection proved a male. 

No. 2, which was a female containing five eggs large enough 
to be detected with the naked eye, weighed 1 lb. 14 oz., and was 
considerably smaller than the male. Two yellowish white spots 
were conspicuous in this bird on either side of the head between 
the beak and the eye, but this lightness of colour (the rest of the 
head being buff brown) did not join over the upper mandible as 


in the male described. Moreover the bill in the female was a 
dull leaden colour, and the irides were a much darker colour than 
in the male. The whole of the upper plumage was brown but 
for tlie white secondaries, which were tipped with black, and here 
and there the brindled grey showed itself on the upper part of 
the back. 

Judging from these birds and from other Scaups which I have 
seen, I believe their changes of plumage, which have been in- 
accuratel}' described by various writers, to be somewhat as under. 
Further observation, however, is required to confirm tlie opinion 
here expressed. 

During their first autumn and winter the young males and 
females are probably much alike, both having a dusky brown 
head and neck, but at this period I do not think they show any 
signs of the white face. 

By October, in their second autumn, young males have the 
brown head, neck, and breast, and a pure white face as in the 
adult female, but the brown feathers are being rapidly displaced 
by feathers of a dull soot}^ black colour. By this period their 
bills, eyes, and feet have attained the colour of the adult bird, 
viz., blue, straw-yellow, and dull blue, respectively ; thus it 
apjjears that the soft parts attain the mature colours before the 
feathers do. Now, I think that by the end of the year these 
birds would have assumed a plain black head, but the white face 
would be retained. By this period the young females are in the 
state of plumage in which I have described No. 2, with the white 
face in an embryonic condition. 

By October, in the third autumn after they are hatched, 
I think the young males begin to assume the glossy purple- 
green head of the adult bird, at the same time gradually losing 
the white face ; but here a doubt perhaps exists as to whether 
another year would not have to elapse before the bird attained 
the purple-green head, as Scaups are obtained in winter with 
plain black heads and without any white face. By their third 
autumn the females also probably become adult, resembling 
very closely the state of plumage in which the male is when 
onlj^ sixteen months old. 

Briefly, the changes in young males may be as follows: — 
Fii'st autumn, dull buff-brown head and neck ; second autumn, 
white face and brown head, the latter turning sooty black ; third 


autumn, loses white face, head entirely sooty black; 4th autumn, 
attains the glossy (adult) head. 

These Scaups had been feeding upon sea-grass, which was to 
be seen in their gizzards, chopped up into pieces about half-an- 
inch long ; fragments of small sea-shells, periwinkles, mussels, 
&c., were also among the contents of the gizzard, but the crop 
was quite empty. I believe that sea-diving ducks eat much more 
grass than is generally supposed. 

Though the Scaup is essentially a diving duck, yet when 
pursued with a broken wing, one of the above birds showed no 
tendency to dive, and allowed itself to be overtaken in a way at 
variance with their wont. They are fond of frequenting sea-weed 
covered rocks, where they can dive for their food. 

If you see Scaups busy diving, they are nearly sure to be 
above some submerged tangle-covered reef, or over some bed of 
mussels known by the name of " scap " in Northumberland. 
Such a place is their regular feeding-ground, where they can by 
diving reach the young mussels adhering to the sea-tangles. 

They are also fond of young cockles, small crabs, and the 
spawn of other molluscs. Scaup, unlike Mallards, are not 
" flighters ;" they have no regular lines of flight to and from their 
feeding-grounds. During the daytime they may be found fre- 
quenting anj^ rocky inlet of the sea, where there is plenty of 
black seaweed, or about the mouth of some burn running from 
the slakes proper into the open channels of the tide-way. I am 
not sure that Scaups ever leave tidal waters, at least in Northum- 
berland, during the winter months, though with advancing spring 
they do resort to fresh-water loughs inland previous to taking 
their departure northwards to breed. With the exception of one 
solitary instance they have never been known to breed in the 
British Islands. In Northern Iceland they breed in immense 
numbers in the month of July, and Messrs. Slater and Carter have 
recently given, both in ' The Ibis' (1886, p. 45) and ' The Zoolo- 
gist' (1886, p. 149), a most interesting account of the numbers 
that frequent that district during the breeding-season. 

Goldeneyes, unlike Scaups, show a preference to freshwater 
loughs and rivers during their stay with us, and they are not 
nearly so often found frequenting tidal waters. They are 
generally in winter one of the wildest of the duck tribe to 
approach witli a punt, but I must add that on their first arrival 


here (before they retreat inland) they are easy birds to appi'oach. 
In 1886 I observed them first on October 22nd on tidal water. 
There were only four, and when first seen they were swimming 
in company with four Red-breasted Mergansers, Mergiis serrator. 
When we were yet a long way off, the Mergansers began to leave 
them, swimming right away from them. Then the Mergansers 
waited for them to come up. Meantime we were drawing nearer. 
Again the eight got together, and again the more cautious "Saw- 
bills" drew away. We were now about fifty yards from the 
Goldeneyes, but the Mergansers were more than double this 
distance, and still they evidently thought they were too near by 
taking wing and thus saving their lives, as is indeed usually their 
custom. The four Goldeneyes were swimming in open order, 
and I was anxious to get them together; for this purpose they 
actualh' allowed us to chase them about, only swimming away 
from the punt, but they refused to go close together, nor did they 
reluctantly take wing till driven into a bight of the sea, a real 
cul de sac, whence escape was possible only by flight. When in 
company with the Mergansers, their rates of swimming were 
severely contrasted, the Goldeneyes being invariablj^ left " clean 
out of the race." On October 27th, another small detachment 
of five Goldeneyes arrived on the coast ; they too were very tame 
until shot at, when they would not admit of further approach. On 
setting to them a second time, they resumed their usual wildness, 
and rose fully 300 yards away from the punt. No instance is 
known of the Goldeneye staying to breed in the British Islands, 
tliough they are regularly seen well into the month of May fre- 
quenting freshwater loughs and rivers. (But see More, ' The Ibis,' 
1865, p. 447, and R. Gray, ' Birds of the West of Scotland' (1871), 
p. 395.) I once found the nest of this bird in Russian Finland 
in latitude 70°, but this is considerably beyond the ordinary 
limits of their northern breeding haunts. 

The trees at this latitude are very small and stunted in 
growth, far too small, one would think, to afford a nesting hole 
for so bulky a duck as the Goldeneye. After a long search, 
howevei", the nest and six eggs were found in the inside of an old 
stump, and I believe this is the most northern breeding place of 
the Goldeneye as yet recorded. 

I have never seen Goldeneyes out on the open sea by day, but 
I have seen them come up the harbour from the sea shortly after 


daybreak, so I presume they spend the night, when on the coast, 
out on the open sea, just as Brent Geese and Mergansers do. 

The crop of a young male Goldeneye, shot October 22nd, 
about 2 p.m., was empty, but the gizzard was packed full of sharp 
gritty sand, with rather large quartz pebbles. I have often seen 
the bill of a Goldeneye, after coming up from a dive, full of 
bottom refuse ; this he lays on the water, and eats at leisure, 
after the manner of a surface-feeding duck. 

Mergansers are, I think, by far the fastest swimming ducks 
we have ; low in the water, with neck erect, they can quite outwit 
a gunning punt, and seldom indeed do they allow approach 
within fair range. When undisturbed, they frequently land on 
the sides of the sandbanks, and when ashore tliey stand nearly 
erect. I remember once, when at Bodo, in Nordland, getting 
quite close to a Merganser sitting nearly bolt upright on a small 
rock protruding from the deep water, and during the winter time 
they can often be seen thus standing along the sides of the tidal 
channels. When alarmed, they waddle quickly down to the 
water, or fly direct from the ground. Mergansers never stay 
inside the harbour by night: about dusk they all, to a bird, 
leave the channel where they have been busy feeding all day, and 
resort to the open sea for the night. One bird, shot thus going 
out at night, was crammed full of tiny plaice, which they catch 
about the sandy-bottomed channels which they frequent. When 
feeding they allow themselves to drive up with the flood perhaps 
a quarter or lialf a mile, when they all rise, and, flying back to 
their original starting-place, recommence their raids on the finny 
ones. With the first of the light in the morning they return from 
the sea to the harbour channels to feed. 

About thirty of these birds arrived on our coast on 
October 20th, and I saw them all file out to sea about four 
o'clock in the afternoon. Their flight, like their natatory powers, 
is very rapid, and they usually move in a long thin line when on 
the wing in company. A winged Merganser is generally a lost 
one. The local name for it is " Yawol." 

The Goosander, Mergus merganser, a far heavier and more 
bulky bird, is seldom found on the coast, unless driven by hard 
weather from his inland haunts, but the Merganser is essentially 
marine in its winter habits, and I think never during the winter 
season resorts to fresh- water lakes or streams inland, though 


with approaching spring they at once betake themselves to fresh 
as well as salt-water loughs to breed. They have never been 
known to breed in England, though in Scotland, and all along 
the Scandinavian Peninsula, they nest freely. Their food, of 
course, consists offish, for securing and holding which their saw- 
bills are most admirably adapted. 

Off the Northumberland coast, the sea ducks proper are the 
Common and Velvet Scoters (though the latter is rather scarce), 
the Long-tailed Duck, the Eider, and the Shellduck. 

Sea ducks obtain at least a great part of their food by diving, 
and in general this consists of the soft bodies of molluscs. That 
they will avail themselves, however, of other food when occasion 
offers is certain, and the following was narrated to me by a fisher- 
man in whose observation I can place implicit faith: — About 
thirty-five years ago, a sailing vessel, " The Falcon," loaded with 
grain, was wrecked off Holy Island in September. At first 
about a dozen Scoters frequented the scene, feeding on the 
grain, but afterwards many hundreds of these birds, as well as 
Long-tailed Ducks, were daily to be seen greedily devouring the 
floating grain as it was washed out of the ship. 

The same man also told me how one night in the first or 
second week of September, twenty-five years ago,— a dark night it 
was, with drizzling rain, — a bird deliberately flung itself upon the 
burning coals of the stove in the coble where they were warming 
their coffee, and that he quickly picked it out of the fire to 
prevent it being burnt. The bird was a Storm Petrel {Procellaria 
lulagica), and he kept it alive for several days, till it ended 
its misfortunes by being eaten by his cat. 

This man also told me how two birds hovered round the 
fishin«-boat one day, which, from his description, can have been 
no other than Fulmar Petrels. Both of these Petrels occur 
irregularly on the Northumberland coast. 

Though not a regular gunner, it will be seen that my 
informant is an observant man. When crossing along the 
edge of the ooze, he one day pointed to a bank a few yards 
above high-water mark, at the same time remarking that " it was 
on that very bank where he once saw, during the month of 
March, several hundred ' Ware Geese ' sitting, and that this was 
the only instance during his lifetime that he had known these 
geese to alight above the " full sea-mark." Generally speaking. 


Brent Geese never alight above high-water mark during the 
period they are on our shores during winter. 

The Eider, or, as he is locally termed " Culver " duck, is 
perhaps the most characteristic sea duck we have in Northum- 
berland. He is with us all the year round, breeding freely on 
the Fame Islands, and sparselj' on the mainland. On October 
27th, this year, I observed a most extraordinary feat performed 
by Eiders. Four of them, all dark-coloured young birds of the 
year, were feeding along the edges of a basaltic reef thickly over- 
grown with sea-tangles, and here they were working havoc among 
the dog-crabs and other small shell-fish. We ran down on them, 
thinking they might be Scaups. When within gunshot they rose, 
and, being in a narrow bight of the sea, they had to head round, 
so as to pass us broadside on within twenty yards. I fired at the 
leading bird, and, to my surprise, all four went headlong into the 
sea from a height of perhaps twenty feet. At first, I wondered, 
could I have killed them all with the one shot ? Presently one 
bird came up dead, but the other three had dived from the wing 
on the instant they perceived the real danger, nor did they come 
up again till well out of shot, when they immediately took wiug 
and escaped ! 

The Sheldrake {Tadorna vulpanser) is resident in Northum- 
berland, breeding on the sandlinks along the coast. They 
frequent the slakes, sandbanks, and mud-flats, as well as 
the open sea. During August the old duck brings her brood 
into the harbour, and if pursued they dive freely, but as soon as 
the young are full-grown they always take wing when pursued, in 
preference to diving. Yarrell states that the legs of the young 
bird in August are "flesh-colour": all I have seen at that 
season of the year have been lead-coloured. 

In 1886, up to October 27th, I had seen no Long-tailed 
Ducks [Harelda glacialis), though by this date they may be 
expected to appear. They are essentiall}' sea-ducks, and, 
I think, never come inside the harbour either by night or by 
day. In very rough weather Common Scoters {(Edemia nigra) 
will sometimes venture inside, but this is unusual, and their 
regular haunts are the open sea, just to seaward of the foreshore 

I have never seen either the Pintail {Dafila acuta) or the 
Tufted duck {Fuligula cristata), on the coast, but the Shoveller 


(Spatula clypeata) occurs regularly during summer, and breeds on 
an inland pond in company with Mallards, Teal, Coots, Water- 
hens and Dabchicks. I think Shovellers, at least in Northum- 
berland, seldom come into the slakes ; on no occasion have I 
ever seen them there ; probably they migrate direct from their 
breeding-places southwards. The only one I ever shot was on 
August 12th, 1877. 

Of all the wildfowl visiting the coast of Northumberland, 
" Grey Geese " are, to the punt-gunner, the most difficult to 
negotiate. Feeding as they do during the daytime on grain- 
stubbles, they are then beyond the fowler's reach, unless, indeed, 
he has the right to follow them. 

It was on the 16th September last that I shot the Lesser 
White-fronted Goose {Anser albifrons viimitus ; Anser erythropus, 
Linn), as elsewhere recorded (' The Field,' December 11th, 188G, 
p. 872) ; but the migratory hosts of the ordinary Grey Geese did 
not arrive until October 12th, nearly a month later, which is 
about their usual date. A special feature in connection with 
these Grey Geese was the extraordinary numbers in which they 
invaded our shores last autumn. Never previously, so far as 
I know, have such numbers been seen here. On the evening 
of October 14th I went to a place where I thought a shot 
might be had at them. About 5.15 p.m. I was greatly sur- 
prised to see a large flock rise off the open sand wastes 
where they generally spend the night, and, with a great " gag- 
gling," wing their way inland. After mancBuvring some ten 
minutes, during which time they did not maintain their regular 
V-shaped formation, but flew in loose order, they all went down 
into a barley-stubble, when they made a great noise; then all 
was silent. The moon was rising at the time, and a herdsman 
who happened to be passing that way put them up again off" the 
stubble. It was then too dark to see them, but I heard tliem 
flying and gaggling about the fields for an hour afterwards, when 
I left them quietly feeding by night. At first this conduct 
seemed most strange, but reflection soon showed that it was only 
as it should be. At this time of the year, when, owing to the 
inhospitable nature of our climate, the farmer has been unable 
to get his cereals gathered and led fi'om the fields, it is obviously 
impossible for the Grey Geese to get their diurnal feed, owing 
to the number of labourers working in the fields where they 


want to feed, and consequently they have to wait till the fields 
are left quiet and undisturbed. 

On October 14th it was 5 p.m. when the harvesters left the 
fields, and it was 5.15 (as above stated) when the geese, which 
had been sitting about a mile off on an open stretch of sand, rose 
to go into the fields. The geese at this season alight among the 
stocks, where they can feed at leisure, without having the trouble 
of walking about to look for the grain. That they will return, 
however, to their more regular habit of feeding by day on the very 
first opportunity was fully demonstrated to me, for on October 
16th, when it was so stormy that the farm labourers could not 
work in the fields, I saw fully two hundred geese busily engaged 
in feeding on the stubbles, about ten o'clock in the morning, and 
this in the very field where but two days ago they were feeding 
at night. Again on October 21st I saw about five hundred geese 
sitting on the sands. They were very restless, and would not 
allow the punt to approach them. Every now and tlien they 
would rise in a body and betake themselves inland. Here, 
however, they found the fields frequented by workpeople, and 
after gyrating in the open air at a great height for a few minutes, 
they would return to the sands from whence they had risen. 

During the three days succeeding this date they were regu- 
larly to be found sitting on the open sands during the day, wait- 
ing for the fields to be cleared, when they might feed unmolested 
by night. By October 25th the stooks had been got in, and the 
stubbles were left unfrequented by man. The geese at once 
assumed their normal habits, feeding all day, and half an hour 
before dark any night their extraordinary^ V'^l^aped formation 
might be seen heading direct for their favourite resting-places. 
Their formation when on the wing is more mechanically true 
than is the case with Brent Geese, and the incessant gaggling 
which they make on going to and from their feeding grounds is 
audible at an immense distance. Many a flight-shooter has 
endeavoured to waylay these wary birds as they come to the 
sands at night, but with very indift'erent success. I believe nine 
nights out of ten they do not even get a shot. 

On October 23rd I all but succeeded in getting a good shot 
at them. The position was peculiar. An isthmus of sand liSO 
yards wide separates the north sea from the harbour waters. At 
a point in this isthmus is an opening or channel, some 50 yards 


wide, deep and dangerous for a punt. This channel is the sluice- 
way for part of the harbour water direct into the breakers of the 
North Sea, and down it or up it, according as the tide is ebbing 
or flowing, the water runs like a millrace. Between 500 and 600 
Grey Geese were sitting along the seaside of the isthmus on either 
side of the outlet channel. The punt was lying at the opposite 
end of the channel, i. e., on the harbour side, and exactly 180 
yards from the geese. The only means of a nearer approach was 
down the channel with the ebb, or, as my puntsman quietly 
remarked, " To perdition in ten feet of water among the breakers." 
There sat the geese, all unconscious of our presence. Every- 
thing about them was as clear as daylight through the binoculars, 
with this exception — I could not identify the colour of the 
nail on the beak ; and so, alas ! they remain unidentified to 
this day. 

Before putting the birds up, we gave them gentle cause for 
alarm, and it was maddening to see how they separated into 
companies, each company so concentrating itself in its fear, that 
if only I could have come within range, a heavy shot must have 
been the result. On walking over the place where they had been 
sitting, it was evident that many were moulting their quills, as 
these feathers lay about all over. 

During October and November these geese remain with us, 
and indeed as long as good stubble food is to be found. As soon, 
however, as the plough begins its work, and their feeding-grounds 
are destroyed, they rapidly increase in numbers, and before 
Christmas there are very few left, perhaps a dozen or two. 
About February and March they reappear in all their strength, 
making daily raids on the hard corn till their appointed time of 
departure in April to breed. 

Grey Geese very seldom alight on the ooze. On the one 
occasion when I am told they did so, they paid a heavy penalty 
for their rashness. 

Judging from Grey Geese shot by old gunners, and from 
what has been written on the subject, it would seem that most of 
the birds visiting us in autumn belong to the Pink-footed and 
Bean species. When, however, it is remembered that they dis- 
appear in winter almost entirely, I can see no valid objection to 
their being real Grey-lags, Ansei' ferus. The latter breed 
numerously on the Scandinavian seaboard (as well as sparsely in 


Sutherlancishire and in the Hebrides). They do not remain 
during the winter in Norway, and why should the birds we have 
here during October and November not be the Norsk-bred Grey- 
lags resting in their passage southwards ? From what I have 
seen of them I am inclined to think that this is the case. 

They look enormous birds as they stand on the flat sands, 
and this is not in accordance with their being A. hracliyrhyncus, 
the latter being much smaller birds. That they are not the 
White-fronted species, A. albifrons, I am sure, or I should 
certainly have identified them with the glass. Possibly they may 
be Bean Geese, A. segetiim. 

Though Brent Geese invariably frequent certain parts of the 
Northumberland coast during the winter months, the Bernicle, 
Bernicla leucojjsis, very seldom does so. This year, on Septem- 
ber 23rd, six Bernicles appeared in the slakes at Holy Island, 
probably on passage to their more regular haunts on the Solway. 
The islanders assert positively that none had been seen for 
fully thirty years previously. One of the six was wounded by a 
local gunner, but never bagged. 

I have already remarked that in 1886 Wigeon arrived on 
September 11th; it was September 16th when the Lesser White- 
fronted G;oose appeared. Both of these dates are unusually 
early for these birds, yet on September 17th I was even more 
sui'prised to witness the arrival of the Brent Goose in the slakes. 
This was a single bird, and not until October 18th did another 
occur, when four made their appearance, staying for a day or 
two, and again entirely disappearing. Small detachments keep 
arriving during November and December, by the end of which 
month perhaps a hundred or two may have assembled. During 
January and February this number is increased to perhaps a 
thousand or two, and this is the winter stock in mild weather. 
When, however, by stress of weather in the Baltic and other 
northern waters, the geese are compelled to retreat before the 
cold to more congenial shores, then the regular stock is increased, 
aye, tenfold ! This is the time for the wildfowler afloat ! 

The Brent obtained by me on September 17th was an old 
bird in poor condition. The features in the plumage were pale 
yellow feathers at intervals among the ordinary slate-blue feathers 
of the back, giving the bird a splashed appearance, and, on 
examination, small brown feathers were visible among the sooty 



black feathers of the neck ; otherwise he was in the ordinary 
winter dress of the old bird. We saw him arrive flying direct 
westwards, but once inside the harbour he alit on a sandbank. 
Here he amused himself by making short quick runs on tip-toe, 
flapping his wings the while, till he received his coup de grace. 

Brent Geese are day-feeders. Only when harassed by 
shooters do they venture on the Zostera banks by night, and 
this only when they are favoured by moonlight. With the first 
of the dawn, they rise from their resting-places on the open sea, 
preparatory to winging their way to their favourite feeding 
grounds. The sea-grass on which they feed attains a great 
length, some stalks measuring five feet in length. It is the 
decomposition of each year's growth that causes the immense 
deposit of soft mud known as the " slake," incapable in many 
places of bearing much more than the weight of the birds which 
feed on and about it. About sunrise, a little sooner or later, 
according to the tide, the Brents repair to this slimy ooze to 
feed. During the daytime, especially in fine weather, they may 
be frequently seen chasing each other, and playing the hours 
away till an hour or so before dark, when they are again hungry 
and wishful to get a good crop-full before taking flight seawards 
for the night. At this time, especially if it be a flood tide and 
hard weather, the punt gunner expects to get a heavy shot. 
Indeed, sometimes so intent are they about their own suppers 
that they will allow a punt to be shoved right up among them. 
Just as the sun disappears behind Old Cheviot's Firehills, the 
geese cease to feed, and go direct out to sea. With the excep- 
tion of crossing a narrow strip of sandlinks both at their morning 
and evening flight, they never cross dry land, and their flights 
are usually made at a height beyond the reach of a shoulder gun ; 
but under the conditions of a head wind, which makes them fly 
low, usually some gaps are made in their otherwise beautifully 
symmetrical formations. 

A winged Brent is pretty sure to make for the water if it 
happens to fall on dry land. Here they make feeble attempts at 
diving, but on the whole cripples are usually easy enough to 

Daring October, and especially from the 20th to the 25th of 
the month. Redwings and Fieldfares were nearly always to be 
heard passing over westwards while we were busy launching the 


punt in the early hours before daybreak. Snow Buntings and 
Sky Larks were also to be heard, and on October 15th, during a 
severe gale from the south-east, I frequently put up Redwings 
from amongst the black rocks, evidently birds newly arrived. 

Tins feature of migration is, liowever, so regular and so 
certain in its annual recurrence, that it is doubtful if further 
observation will much increase our knowledge of the subject. 
Some birds, however, are very irregular in their immigrations. 
On October iSth and 20th ult., two specimens of the Great 
Spotted Woodpecker occurred at a point on the Northumberland 
coast, which only confirms the observations of others that these 
birds are immigrants to our shores. There was hardl}^ a tree in 
the neighbourhood where they were, and one bird which flew 
off the ground alighted on a gate-post for want of a better 
perching place. In ' The Field ' for October 30th ult., an 
instance is cited of the occurrence of this bird in Co. Down, 
Ireland, and, though the exact date is not given, it seems to 
coincide with my own observations. Probably there was a 
"rush" of them about October 20th, at which time the weather 
here was thick and foggy, though for several days previously a 
severe storm had raged from the east and south-east. 

On October 15th thirty Swans were reported as having 
been seen by some fishermen when following their calling about 
seven miles out at sea, though nothing more was seen or heard 
of them. They were said to be flying westward at the time. 
These birds occur nearly every winter in Northumberland, and 
when they are seen to alight they are usually obtained. My 
brother (H.) shot a fine young Wiiooper, one of a pair, in January, 
1881. Weight 17|- lbs. 

During the month of October enormous numbers of Peewits 
come to rest on the oozes during the day. Golden Plovers are 
also present, but in smaller numbers. Two shots fired at them 
produced twenty-nine Peewits, two Goldens, and four Redshanks. 
I say "rest" advisedl}', for I have watched them for hours, with 
perhaps a score of birds within ten yards of the punt, everj^ bird 
sitting abreast to windward and head tucked away in the back 
feathers, sound asleep. So peaceful do they appear that they 
allow the approaching flood to creep gently round them. Half- 
inch by half-inch it gradually rises, till the Plovers actually seem 
to be swimming in the water. When breast-deep they wake up, 


and, with a little scream of " ennui," fly perhaps fifty yards 
landwards, when they again go to sleep. I know of no prettier 
sight than to see a large flock of Peewits thus whiling away the 
daytime. About dusk they resort to the turnip and other fields 
inland, where they feed all night. 

During the month of September the slakes swarmed with 
Oystercatchers, and I hardly saw any Peewits. In October 
exactly the reverse was the case, and I was at a loss to know 
where all the " sea plots " had got to. I imagine the great flocks 
of Peewits were mostly immigrants, though outwardly no proof of 
this was apparent. Most of those shot were young of the year. 
During November, however, there were great numbers of both 
Peewits and Oystercatchers. 

A prominent feature in the slakes during October is the 
absence of the Lesser Black-backed Gull ; in September they 
were numerous, but now their place is taken by their big brother, 
L. viarinus. Often, when setting to fowl, this large Gull comes 
sailing straight at you, and with his loud " hau-hau-hau " he 
raises the slakes. In an instant, some Curlew, who had been 
brooding what that strange white line on the water might be, takes 
the warning, and, by his fearful vociferations, he usually succeeds 
in spoiling the punter's chance of a shot. 

The ColumbidcB are all represented on the Northumberland 
coast during winter. Though two of the three species breed in 
Scotland and in the Hebrides, they do not arrive here any sooner 
than the foreign-bred Wigeon, and often considerably later. Up 
to the end of October I noticed very few, but after that date their 
numbers increased till about the end of the year. 

Mr. Cullingford tells me that he had a Ked-throated Diver 
from Lewis (Oct. 29th, 1886) with a perfectly red throat. He 
also had a Black-throated Diver from Lincolnshire (Dec. 24th, 
1885) with the new black throat already perfectly developed, 
and the general plumage, checkered back, &c., was equally 
advanced. It frequently happens that birds shot in March 
and April do not show nearly so much summer dress as in 
the above examples. The Ked-throat is always much the 
commonest of the three Divers on our coast, the Black-throat 
being the rarest. At daybreak there is a regular flight of 
Divers from the sea, where they spend the night, into the 
tidal channels of the harbour. Divers, unlike Mergansers, do 


not feed in company, and, tliougli two or three may be seen 
together, they are usually solitary. 

Grebes resemble divers in their habits when on the coast. 
The Sclavonian (P. cornutus) is the commonest Grebe we have 
during winter, but the Eared, P. awitus, and Great Crested 
Grebe, P. cristatus, occur, the latter being the commoner of 
the two. I noticed one of the latter birds on October 22nd. 
The Eed-necked Grebe, P. rubricollis, occurs, but I have never 
shot it. 


By Henry Seebohm. 

In * The Zoologist ' for August last my friend and travelling 
companion, Mr. Harvie Brown, placed beyond doubt the 
long-suspected fact that the Snow Bunting, Emberiza nivalis, 
breeds in Scotland. No one knows better than he does the 
significance of this statement. It is not known that any 
bird breeds farther north than this species. Major Feilden 
found a nest in Grinnell Land above lat. 82|-°. When I was in 
Lapland with Mr. Collett we saw nothing of it until we reached 
lat. 70°. It passes through Archangel every spring and autumn, 
but retires farther north to the extremity of the Karim Peninsula 
to breed. In the valleys of the Petchora and the Yenesay 
thousands crossed the arctic circle in spring, but we saw them 
no more until in the former locality we reached lat. 68°, and in 
the latter lat. Tlj". The Snow Bunting is during the breeding 
season an exclusively arctic bird. 

The Ptarmigan, Tetrao mutus, is quite as arctic a bird, 
though perhaps not so exclusively so. No arctic traveller has 
ever reached a latitude too high for this species to be found, and 
wherever it occurs south of the arctic circle it frequents the 
mountain tops where an arctic climate is to be found. In 
Scotland it comes down to 2000 feet, but in South Siberia and 
Japan only to 6000 or even 9000 feet. The only locality where 
it is found at a low level south of the arctic circle is on the 
Kurile Islands, a fact the significance of which will shortly 

The Eed-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus hyperhoreus, is 
another arctic species which breeds in Scotland. In Europe 


and Asia it seldom breeds below the arctic circle, except at high 
elevations : Archangel seems to be too far south to suit its 
requirements ; but curiously enough, on the shores of the Sea of 
Ochotsk, Middendorfi" found it breeding as far south as lat. 55°. 

The Whimbrel, Numenius fhceopus, is also an exclusively 
arctic species during the breeding season, Iceland and the 
islands between it and Scotland (where it also breeds in the 
most northerly counties), and probably Kamtschatka, being the 
only localities south of the arctic circle which it frequents in 

The Greenshank, Totanus glottis, is another arctic species, 
though it does not breed so far north as the other birds above 
named. In Scotland it breeds much farther south than on any 
part of the Continent, a statement which probably applies to 
many other species. 

If time and space permitted it would be interesting to 
compare the breeding range in the British Islands of many 
other arctic or subarctic birds with their breeding range on 
the Continent. The Great Skua, Stercorarius catarrhactes, 
Eichardson's Skua, S. richardsoni, the Black-throated Diver, 
Colymhus arcticus, the Fulmar Petrel, Fulmarus glacialis, and 
several species of Ducks, all come under the category of 
arctic birds which breed at exceptionally low latitudes in 

Now it is a remarkable fact that not one of these birds 
breeds either in England or Ireland ; and the only conclusion 
that we can arrive at is that, from an ornithological point of 
view, Scotland belongs to the Arctic Eegions ! But like most 
other remarkable facts it admits of an easy explanation. 

This explanation is climatic. Most, if not all, of the species 
named breed in July. A reference to a map on which the 
isothermal lines for July are traced will be found to explain all 
these apparent anomalies in a most remarkable manner. In 
Keith Johnston's 'Physical Atlas' there is a map of the world 
in which the mean temperature for the month of July is given 
in various parts of the earth. 

Pioughly speaking, the birds under consideration draw the 
line a few degrees below 60° Fahrenheit. For some special 
reason they do not breed in any locality where the mean tem- 
perature for the month of July is as high as 60°, their reason 


probably having relation to the supply of food. In the map 
alluded to the isothermal line of 59° is drawn. It separates 
England and Ireland from Scotland, passes north of the Gulf 
of Bothnia, through the town of Archangel, extends nearly 
straight across Eussia and Western Siberia, but east of the 
valley of the Yenesay again rises until it almost reaches the 
coast near the delta of the Lena. Farther east in Siberia it 
plunges south again, much more rapidly than it rose in Western 
Europe, and passing south of Kamtschatka it embraces the 
Kurile Islands in the latitude of the Pyrenees. 

This line is almost exactly parallel with what we know of 
the southern breeding ranges of the various arctic birds which 
have been alluded to, thus conclusively proving that Scotland 
not only seems to be, but actually is, within the Arctic Kegions 
during the month of July. . There is therefore no reason for 
attempting to explain by any other causes than the ascertained 
climatic cause the interesting fact that British ornithologists are 
able to study the breeding habits of so many birds which their 
continental fellow students can only observe by travelling five 
hundred miles or more farther north. 


The Essex Field Club. — It is announced that the ' Transactions ' and 
'Proceedings' of the Essex Field Club are henceforth to appear in the 
form of a monthly periodical entitled 'The Essex NaturaHst.' This new 
departure in tlie policy of local Societies has been adopted from a conviction 
that if local Societies are to flourish and do useful work it is necessary to 
devise some means of " lieeping touch " with their members, and encouraging 
inter-communication among them. We understand that the first number 
of the ' Essex Naturalist ' will appear in January, and will be conducted 
by Mr. W. Cole, who has edited the publications of the Club since its 
establishment seven years ago. 


The Fur Trade of London. — London is the great market for furs and 
skins of the world, and not St. Petersburg or Nijui-Novgorod, or any of the 
great cities of Northern or Western Europe, or Canada, as many imagine. 
To our metropolis come the fur merchants of every part of Europe, Asia, and 


America, to purchase the finest and rarest skins. March and September 
are now the principal periods of their biennial visitation, and during 
these months the greatest activity is displayed in the neighbourhood 
of St. Mary Axe, where from time immemorial the Guild of Skinners have 
transacted their business. The following statistics will give some idea of 
the importance of this industry : — In March, 1886, the Hudson's Bay 
Company submitted to public auction no less than 10,841 Otter-skins ; 
4,02'2 Fisher-skins; 855' Silver Fox-skins, of a value of from £10 to £80 
each ; 3,173 Cross Fox-skins, ranging up to £8 in value ; 1,400 Fox-skins, 
various; 5, '200 Lynx-skins ; 78,856 Marten, or Sable-skins ; 76,374 Beaver- 
skins ; and vast quantities of inferior quality skins. Also, in the same 
month, at an important sale (" Lampson's "), 1 ,020 Silver Fox ; 7,449 Sables 
(Russian); 400 Blue Fox; 3,741 Cross Fox; 4,252 Sea Otter, from £8 to 
£140 value per skin; 7,000 Bear; 3,000 Fishers; 6,559 Otter; 5,000 
Fox; 41,387 Marten (H. B. Sable); 250,000 Skunk ; 253,000 Raccoon ; 
and 150,000 Mink-skins were sold. The furs and skins are always sold at 
auction m lots. Those who are not acquainted with the system by which 
they are disposed of would be as interested as astonished if they spent an 
hour in one of the sale-rooms during the progress of a great sale. Each lot 
submitted often represents in value hundreds of pounds sterling, notwith- 
standing which there is seldom a word heard beyond those of the broker 
giving out the number of the lot and repeating the amount of the bids, the 
whole business being conducted in such a quiet and orderly manner that a 
stranger would scarcely imagine such valuable goods were changing hands. 
The crowd surrounding the auctioneer is a motley one, Russians, Germans, 
Poles, and French being the largest buyers, and naturally amongst these 
there is a preponderance of the Hebraic element. Of course the skins and 
furs have been on view for some days previous to the sale, and as they are 
gonerally in a raw state, with the pelt outside, there is merely the fringe to 
guide the purchaser. It therefore requires great judgment to discriminate 
their values, but the delicacy of touch of the really genuine merchant is 
such that he seldom makes a mistake. No skins, however, are seen in the 
auction rooms, but only at the warehouses, where they are on view some 
days before the sale. 

Habits of the Weasel. — Apropos of the enquiry whether Stoats and 
Weasels kill Moles (Zool. 1886, p. 456), I would now ask do Weasels kill 
eaeh other? A short time ago my brothers, when golfing on the Leven 
and Lundin Links, near Windygates, Fife, noticed a Weasel come out of 
the rough bents at the side of the golfing course, carrying something large 
in its mouth. It came along at a smart canter, with its head held high, — 
like a small retriever carrying a large hare, — its burden balanced across its 
jaws. My brothers gave chase, and, not without difficulty, forced it to drop 
its load to save its own life, when to their astonishment they found the 


Weasel had beeu carrying the body of another full-grown Weasel ! The 
question is, had the one Weasel killed the other, and was it carrying it 
off to eat it, or was it a case of a faithful mate or friend bearing off the 
dead for burial ? I should add that there were no marks on the dead 
Weasel to indicate that it had died a violent death. — Charles Cook 
(Wiadygates, Fife). 


Ruddy Sheldrake in Ireland. — Having made enquiries about three 
separate captures of this species in June and July last, I beg to offer the 
following particulars. Mr. Robert Twiss, who killed two on the Shannon 
on the 16th June, writes : — " The two Ruddy Sheldrakes which I shot were 
male and female. When I first saw them they were feeding on a sandy 
beach. I sent my man in a boat to drive them over to me, but they got 
up wild and flew down the Shannon over half a mile, and pitched on a 
strand at the mouth of Cool River, where it empties itself into the Shannon. 
They only remained there for a few seconds, when they got up again and 
flew at least two miles down the river, and I sent my man after them. He 
succeeded in turning them back to me, and when they settled on the stream 
I got behind some bushes and stalked them. I am sure they could not have 
been escaped birds, for they were so very wary." Mr. Twiss adds that 
William Goggin, a farmer, who lives near O'Brien's Bridge, has now 
preserved in his possession two Egyptian Geese, male and female, which 
he shot about nine years ago on the same part of the Shannon. The second 
occurrence of Ruddy Sheldrakes is reported by Mr. Rohu, bird and animal 
preserver, Cork, who states that on the 26th June Mr. P. O'Connell wounded 
one of these birds out of a flock of six on the sea, at Bullen's Bay, near the 
Old Head of Kinsale. He recovered it a few days later on a bog near the 
sea, and it was sent to Mr. Rohu for preservation. The third capture above 
referred to was made by the keeper of Mr. Stephen Greehan, of Clonmeen 
Banteer, in an inland and northern part of the Co. Cork, between thirty- 
five and forty miles in a direct line from the Old Head of Kinsale. About 
this specimen Mr. Greehan writes : — " My keeper shot it about July 16th 
(as near as I can recollect), as three of them rose out of a small pond in the 
middle of a field about a quarter of a mile from the river (Black water?). 
They got up like ordinary Wild Ducks, and all appeared to be alike." 
I inspected this bird (a male in fine plumage) and the female shot near 
Kinsale, both of which appeared to be adults, and could see no traces of 
confinement. The ends of the primaries in each were a little worn, but 
this was only the result of natural wear, none of the feathers being at all 
broken or draggled. Even assuming that the birds met with near Clon- 
meen belonged to the Kinsale flock, which is by no means proved, we have 
still two distinct captures of this species at points so far apart as Kinsale 
and the Shannon near Lough Derg. The season was certainly one at 


which we should rather expect ducks to be breeding, not migrating, and too 
early for the flight of birds of the 3'ear. Against the theory of their being 
all "escapes," I may point to the general absence in Ireland of a taste for 
keeping rare waterfowl. If, however, any large number of Ruddy Shel- 
drakes are known to have escaped last summer from any private water 
I hope this notice will elicit a statement of the circumstances. — R. J. Ussher 
Cappagh, Co. Waterford). 

[A letter from Mr. Rohu, for which we are obliged, confirms the account 
above given of the two specimens forwarded to him for preservation by 
Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Greehan.— Ed.] 

Little Guil in Co. Durham. — In reference to the editorial comment on 
ray note of the occurrence of this species in Co. Durham (Zool. 188G, 
p. 457), I write to say the bird is certainly a Little Gull, Lariis miiiutus, in 
first plumage, and not a Sabine's Gull, as suggested. The statements of 
dimensions, which I gave, are, I think, sufiicient to prove this, the length 
of Sabine's Gull being given in " Yarrell " as 13 inches, while that of the 
present bird was but 9 ^ inches — a considerable difference. I cau hardly 
agree with the Editor's statement that the tail of the Little Gull is square 
at the extremity. [It is so stated in the 4th edition of "Yarrell," vol. iii. 
p. 592, as well as in Seebohm's ' British Birds,' vol. iii. p. 297. — Ed.] 
An examination of a number of specimens shows that in the immature 
stage it is nearly always distinctly forked, — as much so as, say, that of a 
Grey-hen, — though not so markedly forked as in Sabine's Gull. Even in 
adult specimens of L. minutus, when the tail-feathers are not abraded, it is 
slightly forked. The feature is interesting, not only as forming a con- 
necting link with the Terns, but perhaps also as pointing to a common 
ancestry of both groups. — Abel Chapman (Roker, Sunderland). 

Montagu's Harrier in Notts. — It is with regret that I record the 
slaughter of this rare bird in June last at Boughton in Nottinghamshire ; 
an immature male, just beginning to asume the slate-coloured back. A 
careful comparison of the wings of this bird with those of the Hen 
Harrier placed its identity beyond a doubt. The contents of the stomach 
consisted of the remains of larks' eggs in various stages of incul)ation ; 
perhaps also, from their resemblance, there may have been some Tree 
Pipits' amongst them. — W. Bkcher (Wellow, Newark-on-Trent). 

[These " hunting-hawks," as they are called in some parts of the 
country, from their habit of flying low and quartering their ground like 
pointers or setters, are now more frequently met with in England during 
the autumn months. In October last another Montagu's Harrier was shot 
near Hastings, as recorded in the present number by Mr. Theobald. 
A Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, was shot by one of Lord Scarsdale's 
keepers on the moors at Wild Boar Clough, near Macclesfield, eaily in 


November last ; and on the 30th of the same month a Marsh Harrier, 
Circus arnginosus, was killed in a marsh near Christchurch, Hants. 
Montagu's Harrier is perhaps nowadaj's the commonest of the three species 
in England. A most interesting account of the breeding of the Hen 
Harrier in Lincolnshire sixty years ago will be found in ' The Field ' of the 
4th December last. — Ed.] 

Blackcap in Co. Waterford in December.— On Dec. 5th, 1886, as I 
was strolling through a fir plantation here, I saw to my amazement a male 
Blackcap fly up and perch within a few yards of me. I had a good stare 
at him, for he was not particularly shy. There was no mistaking the 
species; top of head jet black, mantle slaty, under parts pale grey. He 
busied himself searching the branches of the Scotch firs. The season has 
been very mild hitherto, without any frost worth mentioning. On 
December 18th, 1856, I found a male Blackcap, recently dead, here, and a 
pair bred in 1885, near Clashmore (Zool. 1885, p. 261). These are the 
only instances in which I have undoubtedly met with Blackcaps here, 
though they seem to be regular visitants in small numbers to Co. Wicklow, 
which is nearer to the sources of immigration. How striking is the 
abundance in this part of Ireland of the Whitethroat, the Sedge and 
Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff, especially of the last, as contrasted with 
the absence of so many other insect-finding summer migrants, as the 
Whinchat, Redstart, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed and 
Wood Warblers, Ray's Wagtail, and Tree Pipit, which I have never met 
with ! How these arbitrary distinctions of breeding-range among kindred 
species show that migration is an inherited habit ! — R. J. Ussher (Cappagh, 
Co. Waterford). 

Storm Petrel in London. — At the last meeting of the Linnean Society, 
held at Burlington House on December 16th, a Storm Petrel was exhibited, 
which had been picked up on Dec. 9th in an exhausted state near the 
Serpentine in Kensington Gardens. Its appearance so far from the sea is 
doubtless to be accounted for by the very tempestuous weather which 
prevailed about that date. — J. E. Harting. 

Red-throated Diver breeding in Co. Donegal. — Mr H. M. Wallis con- 
cludes his notice of the Tree Sparrow at Aranmore (Zool. 1886, p. 489) by the 
following allusion to this much more interesting species, which cannot, like 
the Tree Sparrow, be of recent introduction. He says, " I found the Red- 
throated Diver breeding on the mainland (Co. Donegal), but this I think 
you recorded last year." It appeared from the notice referred to (Zool. 
1885, p. 348) that Mr. Lloyd Patterson received from Co. Donegal eggs 
which were identified as those of the Red-throated Diver, the first evidence 
recorded of the species breeding in Ireland. As Mr. Wallis is able tooff'cr 
fresh information on the subject, I trust he will favour the readers of ' The 


Zoologist' with all the circumstances, and state whether he found the eggs 
or young birds. — R. J. Usshek (Cappagh, Co. Waterford). 

Phalaropes, Fulmar Petrel, and Montagu's Harrier near Hastings. 
— After the stormy weather in October last 1 shot a Grey Phalarope 
(Phalaropus lobatus) on the marshes near St. Leonard's, and two more 
were shot in the same vicinity. From other places in the neighbourhood 
many more were recorded, and at the same time a Red-necked Phalarope 
(P. hyperboreus) was killed. In the last week of October a Montagu's 
Harrier (Circus cinereus) was shot on the marshes to the east of Hastings 
and sent over to a local taxidermist for preservation, who also had a fine 
Fulmar Petrel (Procllaria glacialis), found a year ago in an exhausted state 
on the marshes near Rye. — F. V. Thkobald (St. Leonard"s-on-Sea). 

Snow Bunting on Ben Nevis in Summer, — During a short tour in 
Scotland last September, while staying at Fort WiUiam, we made the ascent 
to Ben Nevis, and there at the Observatory saw Snow Buntings in their 
summer residence, and from information heard that they breed there, being 
seen the whole spring and summer. — E. C. Moor (Great Bealings, Wood- 
bridge, Suffolk). [See a note on the Snow Bunting breeding in Scotland, 
Zool. 1886, p. 336.— Ed.] 

Nesting of the Sedge Warbler. — Last summer I took two nests of this 
species, differing considerably in their construction from the general 
fashion, and partaking more of the character of the Reed Warbler than that 
of the Sedge Warbler; both are lined with hair, in one some feathers are 
interwoven with the lining. The bottom of both nests was placed at least 
twelve inches from the ground, in reeds and sedge by the side of the 
Norwich River, near Hardley Cross, and in both reeds pass through the 
fabric of the nests, though they are not so actually dependent from the 
reeds, as is the case, so far as my experience goes, with the Reed Warbler. 
I was, however, so much struck with the peculiar construction of these 
nests, that I captured the two birds belonging to one of them ; they 
proved to be Sedge Warblers. — G. Smith (Great Yarmouth.) 

Immigration of Fieldfares. — On November 8th we were visited by 
numerous flocks of Fieldfares, all flying in the same direction, from east to 
west, the flights continuous and following each other at short intervals. 
Thev did not deviate from their course in the least, but each flock followed 
in the direction of the one before it. They flew low, just topping the 
hedges and woods ; a few struck against the telegraph wires on our 
railway; five were picked up and brought to me in the evening. I 
observed a similar occurrence, in vastly superior numbers, in the autumn 
of 1878, just previous to the two following severe winters, since which time 
Fieldfares about here have been scarce. — Walter Prentis (Rainham). 


Distribution of the White-bellied Brent Goose.— So far as I know, 
little or no attention has hitheito been paid to the distribution of the White- 
bellied Brent Goose during its stay with us; the only locality named 
for its occurrence in the 4th edition of Yarrell's 'British Birds' being 
the I<incolnshire sea-board. As winter is come it would be well if 
ornithologists would look out for, and record, the occurrence of this very 
marked race of goose. To set the ball rolling, let me say that a young 
White-bellied Brent Goose was shot on Loch Pooltiel, Isle of Skye, on 
October 28th, 1886.— H. A. Macpherson (3, Kensington Gardens Sq., W.). 

M O L L U S C A. 

Habits of Testacella haliotidea. — Between four and five months ago 
I found eleven specimens of this slug upon a low wall surrounding the 
garden of a house near the Oxford University Parks, and on the following 
day I captured eleven more in the same place. There had been exceptionally 
heavy rain, extending over some days,_ immediately previous to those on 
which I found the specimens, and it therefore seems probable that these 
animals are driven out of the earth when it becomes sodden with moisture. 
Thus it is possible to account for the capture of a very unusual number of 
specimens, for, as far as I can learn, the species has hitherto only been met 
with singly in this locality. I have also ascertained what happens to the ani- 
mals when the earth in which they are contained becomes hard and dry from 
loss of water. A few of the twenty-two specimens were killed and hardened, 
and the remainder were put in a box containing earth, in which they buried 
themselves. In the press of other work the box was neglected, and remained 
untouched in my laboratory until to-day, the earth having quickly dried into 
a hard cake. To-day I emptied the box, and fully expected to find the 
slugs dried up dead, but to my surprise I found twelve specimens alive, 
each encysted in a thin transparent capsule formed of the hardened mucous 
secretion of the animal's skin. The body was contracted, and oval in shape, 
but it had been so completely protected from evaporation that there was no 
noticeable reduction in bulk after these hottest months of the year, durin^ 
which water had been entirely withheld. One or two specimens had died 
almost immediately after capture, and a few escaped, so that all those which 
had been exposed to the heat and dryness in the box had become encysted, 
and survived in apparent health. — Edwakd B. Poulton (Wykeham House, 
Oxford) in ' Nature." 

A Correction. — Kindly spare me space to observe that A. H. Mac- 
pherson and H. A. Macpherson have separate existences. Owing to the 
unlucky similarity of initials, several notes of my cousin, A. H. Macpherson, 
of Oxford, have been attributed to me in the Index of the volume for 1886; 
and various friends have also identified our unfortunate individualities as 
one and the same. — H. A. Macpherson (3, Kensington Gardens Square). 



LiNNEAN Society of London. 

November 18, 1886. — William Oarruthers, F.R, S., President, in the 

Mr. Henrj Bury was elected a Fellow of the Society. 

Mr. A. D. Michael exhibited living specimens and preparations of an 
Argas, received from Mrs. Crawford, the State Entomologist of Adelaide, 
Australia. These appear to be identical with the much-dreaded Argas 
persicus, Fischer, the bite of which is supposed to cause madness and 

The fifth and concluding part of the Rev. A. E. Eaton's Monograph of 
the Recent Fpheraeridte, or Mayflies, was read in abstract. He states that 
in his entire memoir 55 genera and 270 species have been characterized, 
in addition to eleven nameless nymphs and nineteen species named by 
other authors, which cannot now be classified exactly. Amongst them five 
genera and sixty-eight species may be reckoned new to Science, and thirteen 
of the older species have had to be renamed. The author gives a revised 
summary of the groups, series, sections, and genera, a full description of 
the figures in the plates, and complete index to the species, and a contents 
generally of the volume. 

Besides the foregoing zoological contributions a number of interesting 
exhibitions and papers of a botanical character were brought forward and 

December 2, 1886. — William Oarruthers, F.R.S., President, in the 

The following gentlemen were elected Fellows of the Society, viz. : — 
Dr. Robert von Lendenfeld, Messrs. J. W. Willis Bund, Arthur Dendy, 
Anthony Gepp, Kutaro Ito, F. Krause, Francis Molesworth Lascelles, 
Frederick Sander, John Samson, Harry Sanford Burton, Arthur Warwick 
Sutton, and Charles W. Wilson. Mr. George Sim was elected an 

Dr. Day read a paper on the Lochleven Trout, which is the form that 
has been utilized by Sir James Maitland at Howietovvn, where the elevation 
is similar to that of their original home from which it is about twenty-five 
miles distant. These fish are known by their numerous coecal appendages, 
and up to their fourth or fifth year they are of a silvery grey with black, 
but no red spots ; subsequently they become of a golden purple, with 
numerous black and red spots. Undergrown ones take on the colour of 
the Burn-Trout. Remove these fish to a new locality, and they assume 


the form and coloui* of Salmo fario. In 1883 a Salmon-parr and 
Lochleven Trout were crossed, and the young assumed the red adipose 
dorsal fin and white-edged margins to the dorsal and ventral, also the 
orange edges to both sides of the caudal — all colours found in the brook- 
trout, but not in the Salmou or Lochleven Trout. The statements that 
the maxilla in this form does not extend behind the eye, that there is no 
knob on the lower jaw in old males, and that the fins differ from those of 
Salmo fario were shown to be erroneous. 

A communication "On a new Species of Brachyonchus from the Mergui 
Archipelago," by Mr. H. W. Bates, was read by the Secretary. The beetle 
in question' is said to be intermediate between B. Imvipennis and B. sub- 
loivis, both known only from Siam and Cochin China. 

December IQ. — William Carruthers, F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

H.R.H. the Prince of Wales was elected an Honorary Member of the 

Messrs. Arthur Bawtree, Frederick Justen, Trailskya N. Mukharji (of 
Calcutta), Francis W. Oliver, and Richard V. Sherring were elected Fellows, 
and Mr. George Nicholson an Associate of the Society. 

The President announced that Sir George MacLeay, K.C.M.G., F.L.S., 
had presented to the Society a framed water-colour portrait of the Rev. 
William Kirby, F.L.S., the distinguished Entomologist; and the MSS. and 
Correspondence of his Father, Alexander MacLeay (elected F.L.S. I794j, 
formerly Secretary of the Society. For these valuable donations a special 
vote of thanks was unanimously accorded by the Fellows present. 

Mr. Edward A. Heath exhibited a Storm Petrel, Procellaria pelagica, 
which was picked up alive in Kensington Gardens on December 9th. It 
had doubtless been driven inland by the great storm of the preceding day. 

" Experiments on the Sense of Smell in Dogs " was the title of a paper 
read by Dr. George J. Romanes. After preliminary observations on the 
faculties of special sense generally, and particularly that of smell as 
developed in Carnivora and Ruminants, the author detailed the results of 
some experiments which he had made with a Setter. — J. Mdrie. 

Zoological Society of London. 

November 16, 1886.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, 
in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to the 
Society's Menagerie during the months of June, July, August, September, 
and October, 1886, and called attention to certain interesting accessions 
which had been received during that period. Amongst these were specially 
noted a specimen of the Glaucous Macaw, Ara glauca, purchased June 3rd ; 


two young Tcheli Monkeys, Macacus tcheliensis, from the mountains north 
of Pekin, presented by Dr. S. W. Bushell ; and other animals. 

An extract was read from a letter addressed to the President by 
Dr. Emin Bey, dated Wadilai, Eastern Equatorial Africa, January 1st, 1886, 
and containing some notes on the distribution of the Anthropoid Apes in 
Eastern Africa. 

A letter was read, addressed to the Secretary by Dr. Chr. Liitken, of 
Copenhagen, containing some information as to the locality of Chiropodomys 

A letter was read from Dr. A. B. Meyer, communicating some remarks 
hy Mr. K. G. Henke on a specimen of a hybrid Grouse in the Dresden 

Prof. Flower exhibited and made remarks on a specimen of a rare 
Armadillo, Tatusia pilosa, belonging to the Scarborough Museum. 

Prof. Bell exhibited and made remarks on an object (apparently of the 
nature of an amulet) made from a portion of the skin of some Mammal, 
and received from Moreton Bay, Australia. 

Mr. H. Seebohm exhibited a skin of what he considered to be a young 
individual of the Lesser White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons minutus, shot 
in September last on Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland, and 
observed that it was the first recorded example of the small form of the 
White-fronted Goose which had been obtained on the coasts of our islands. 

Mr. Blanford exhibited and made some remarks on a mounted specimen 
of a scarce Paradoxure, Paradoxurus jerdoni, from the Neilgherry Hills in 
Southern India. 

A communication was read from Col. Charles Swinhoe, containing an 
account of the species of lepidopterous insects which he had obtained at 
Mhow, in Central India. 

A communication was read from Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, containing an 
account of the anatomy of Oeococcyx calif ornianus. 

Mr. Lydekker described three crania and other remains oi Scelidotherium, 
two of the former being from the Argentine Republic, and the third from 
Tarapaca, in Chili. One of the crania from the first locality he referred to 
the typical i?. leptocephalum of Owen, while the second, which had been 
described by Sir R. Owen under the same name, he regarded as distinct, and 
proposed to call 8. bravardi. The Tarapaca form, which was characterized 
by the extremely short nasals, was also regarded as indicating a new species, 
for which the name of 8. chilense was proposed. The author concluded 
that there were not sufficient grour^ds for separating Lund's proposed 
genus Platyonyx from 8celidutherium. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger pointed out that two distinct forms of the 
Batrachian genus Bombinator occur in Central Europe, and read notes on 
their distinctive characters and geographical distribution. 


A communication was read from Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, containing a 
correction, with additional notes, upon the anatomy of the Trochilida, 
CaprimulgidcB, and Cypselida. 

A communication was read from Dr. E. A. Philippi, containing a pre- 
liminary notice of some of the Tortoises and Fishes of the coast of Chili. 

Mr. Sclater exhibited the head of, and made remarks upon an apparently 
undescribed species of Gazelle from Somali-land. 

December 1, 1886.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, 
in the chair. 

Prof. Bell exhibited and made remarks on a rare Entozoon, Tcenia nana, 
from the human subject. 

Mr. Tegetmeier exhibited and made remarks on a pair of antlers of an 
Elk, Alces machlis, said to have been recently obtained in the Galtee 
mountains in Ireland. 

Mr. Frank E. Beddard read a paper on the development and structure 
of the ovum in the Dipnoid fishes. The present communication was a 
continuation of a research into the structure of the ovary in Protopterus. 
The author, besides being able to give a more complete account of the 
ovarian ova of Protopterus, was able to supplement this account with 
some further notes respecting the structures observed in the ovary of 

Mr. A. Smith Woodward read a paper on the anatomy and systematic 
position of the Liassic Selachian, Squaloraja polyspondyla. After a brief 
notice of previous researches, the author attempted an almost complete 
description of the skeletal parts of Squaloraja, as revealed by a fine series 
of fossils in the British Museum. He confirmed Davies's determination of 
the absence of the cephalic spine in certain individuals (presumably females), 
and added further evidence of its prehensile character, suggesting also that 
the various detached examples afforded indications of one or more new 
species. The author concluded with some general remarks on the affinities 
of the genus, and proposed to institute a new family, " Squalorajidse," which 
might be placed near the Pristiophoridse and Rhinobatidse. 

Mr. Sclater pointed out the characters of an apparently new Parrot of 
the genus Conurus, from a specimen living in the Society's Gardens. The 
species was proposed to be called Conurus rubritorqiiis. 

Mr. F. Day communicated (on the part of Mr. J. Douglas Ogilby, of 
the Australian Museum, Sydney) a paper on an undescribed fish of the 
genus Pimelopterus from Port Jackson, New South Wales, proposed to be 
named P. meridionalis. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger read a paper on the South African Tortoises 
allied to Testudo geometrica, and pointed out the characters of three new 
species of this group, which he proposed to call Testudo trimeni, T. smithii, 

ZOOLOGIST. — JAN. 1887. I> 


and T.fiski. A second paper by Mr. Boulenger contained some criticisms 
on Prof. W. K. Parker's paper " On the Skull of the Chameleons," read at 
a previous meeting of the Society. 

Mr. Oldfield Thomas read a paper on the Wallaby commonly known as 
Lagorchestes fasclatus, and showed that the dentition of this animal was 
entirely different in character, not only to that of the typical species of 
Lagorchestes, but even to that of all the other members of the subfamily 
Macropodinse. He therefore proposed to form a new genus for its reception, 
to which he gave the name of Lagostrophxis. 

A communication was read from Prof. R. CoUett, containing the descrip- 
tion of a new Pouched Mouse from Northern Queensland, which he proposed 
to name Antechinm thomasi. — P. L. Sclater, Secretary. 

Entomological Society of London. 

December ], 1886. — Robert M'Lachlan, Esq., F.R.S., President, in 
the chair. 

Mr. W. H. Miskin, of Brisbane, Queensland, Mr. R. E. Salwey, of 
Folkestone, and Mr. F. W. Biddle, M.A., of Beckenham, were elected 

Mr. Howard Vaughan exhibited a long series of Gnophos ohscurata, 
comprising specimens from various parts of Ireland, North Wales, York- 
shire, Berwick-on-Tweed, the New Forest, Folkestone, Lewes, and the 
Surrey Hills. The object of the exhibition was to show the variation of 
the species in connection with the geological formations of the various 
localities from which the specimens were obtained. 

Dr. Sharp showed a series of drawings of New Zealand Coleoptera, by 
Freiherr von Schlereth, which, though executed in pencil, were remarkable 
for their delicacy and accuracy. 

Mr. R. Adkin exhibited specimens of Cidaria reticulata, recently bred 
by Mr. H. Murray, of Caruforth, from larvae collected by him near Winder- 
mere, on Impatiens noli-me-tangere. Mr. Adkin said that as the food-plant 
was so extremely local, and consequently difficult for Mr. Murray to obtain, 
he had endeavoured to get the larvae to feed on some other species of 
balsam, including the large garden species, usually known as Canadian 
balsam, but that he had not succeeded in doing so. Mr. E. B. Poulton 
observed that this statement tended to confirm the remarks he made at a 
recent meeting of the Society on the subject of the habits of lepidopterous 
larvae with reference to their food-plants. 

Mr. Billups exhibited a number of living specimens of Aleurodes 
vaporarioruvL (Westw.), obtained from a greenhouse at Snaresbrook, where 
they had caused great havoc amongst tomato plants {Lycopersicum escu- 
lentvm). He remarked that the species had been first figured and described 


by Prof. Westwood in the ' Gardener's Chronicle,' 1856, and that attention 
had been recently called to it by Mr. Douglas (Ent. Mo. Mag. for December). 
Mr. J. Jenner Weir stated that plants in his greenhouse had been attacked 
by the same species. 

Mr. Poulton exhibited the bright green blood of the pupa of Smerinthus 
tilicB, which is one of many lepidopterous pupae possessing in the blood a 
clilorophyll-like pigment called meta-chlorophyll by Mr. Poulton. The 
blood of the larva contains the same pigment in a much smaller amount, 
while in the pupa the additional colouring-matter fixed in the larval 
hypoderinic cells also passes into solution in the blood. By means of a 
micro-spectroscope Mr. Poulton was able to show the most characteristic 
absorption-band of the pigment, together with its resemblance to chlorophyll. 

Mr. G. T. Porritt exhibited forms of Cidaria suffumata from Hudders- 
field, including one very similar to that taken at Dover by Mr. Sydney 
Webb (Proc. Ent. Soc. 1886, p. xxv) ; and one still more extreme, having 
only the basal mark and the central stripe, with a slight streak at the tip, 
brown, the remainder of the wings being perfectly white. He also exhibited 
a series of small bilberry-fed Hypsipetes elutata from Huddersfield, showing 
green, red-brown, and black forms. 

Mr. S. Stevens exhibited forms of Gamptogramma hilineata and Em- 
melesia albulata from the Shetland Isles, and a curious variety of Chelonia 
caja from Norwich. 

The Secretary read a letter from the Administrator-General of British 
Guiana, on the subject of the urticating properties possessed by the larvae 
and pupae of certain species of Lepidoptera collected in Demerara. 

Mr. M'Lachlan read " A Note concerning certain Nemopteridae." 

Miss E. A. Ormerod communicated a paper " On the occurrence of the 
Hessian Fly [Cecidomyia destructor) in Great Britain." It appeared from 
this paper that there could be no longer any doubt as to the occurrence of 
the insect in this country, specimens obtained in Hertfordshire having 
been submitted to, and identified by. Prof. Westwood, and by Mr. W. 
Saunders, of London, Ontario. Prof. Westwood said the specimens agreed 
exactly with Austrian specimens in his possession, sent to him some years 
ago by Mens. Lefebvre, who had received them from the late Dr. Hammer- 
schmidt, of Vienna. A discussion followed the reading of this paper, in 
which the President, Mr. C. 0. Waterhouse, Mr. Theodore Wood, and 
others, took part. 

At the close of the Ordinary Meeting a Special Meeting was held, for 
the purpose of considering certain proposed alterations in the Bye- Laws. 
These having been explained to the meeting were, after some discussion, 
agreed to, and the proceedings terminated. — H. Goss, Secretary. 



Letters on Sjiort in Eastern Bengal. By Frank B. Simson (Bengal 
Civil Service Eetired). Eoyal 8vo, pp. 252, with ten illus- 
trations. London : E. H, Porter. 1886. 

Since the publication of Mr. Sanderson's ' Thirteen Years 
amongst the Wild Beasts of India ' in 1879, no better book on 
Sport in India has appeared than that now before us. With a 
longer experience even than that of his predecessor, Mr. Simson 
is able not only to confirm from personal observation much that 
was already known concerning the haunts and habits of the animals 
which usually come under the denomination of " big game," but 
in many cases to supplement the remarks of previous writers 
with useful information. His special delight seems to have 
been the chase of the Wild Boar, on which subject he writes 
enthusiastically ; and it must be confessed that from a sports- 
man's point of view he has left little to be said by any future 
votary of this particular branch of sport who may contemplate 
writing upon it. It is true that his book is addressed rather 
to sportsmen than to naturalists, but it is equally true that 
naturalists would know very little about the habits of many wild 
animals were it not for the published observations of such men 
as Mr. Simson — men who are constantly exploring fresh tracts 
of country, primarily in search of sport, but indirectly helping 
with their carefully kept journals to elucidate and help forward 
the study of Zoology. To such writers especially do we look for 
information on the geographical distribution of animals ; for 
they have such excellent opportunities (if they will only take the 
trouble) to furnish lists of the species met with in the districts 
explored by them. In this way, and perhaps in this way only, 
is it likely that we shall be able to solve some of the interesting 
problems relating to what may be termed the sporadic distribution 
of certain remarkable species. 

There are other points upon which the testimony of such 
experienced observers as Mr. Simson is valuable ; such, for 
instance, as the length of Tigers and the height of Elephants, 
questions which are repeatedly cropping up, and to answer 


which it is desirable to have some trustworthy statistics. On 
the subject of Tigers Mr, Simson writes : — 

"I have no need to tell you much about the natural history of the 
Tiger; specimens are to be seen in every menagerie. But as to his size 
you will have very different accounts. There was an article on this 
subject, written by my friend Sir Joseph Fayrer, in ' Nature ' for November, 
1878. The statements of many experienced sportsmen were recorded, my 
own'among the number. I say there that no Tiger killed by me measured 
more than eleven feet from snout to tail when properly measured. I have 
shot with several of the gentlemen whose notes were recorded by Sir Joseph. 
A curious thing happened when I was shooting with Mr. C. Shillingford, 
which I will relate presently. Had that Tiger been measured before he 
was skinned in my presence, I might have been able to say I had shot a 
Tiger between eleven and twelve feet long ; but though I wounded the 
animal when alive, I was not present when he was killed. I merely, to my 
chagrin, was repeatedly shown the skin afterwards. I may remark that the 
most experienced Tiger-shooter in my own service stated that he did not 
think he had once killed one more than eleven feet and a few inches long ; 
and I know he killed between four and five huudred Tigers. The conclusion 
Sir Joseph comes to, after careful comparison of accounts, is that anything 
over ten feet is very large, but that Tigers may exceed ten feet three inches, 
and that, in a few rare and exceptional instances, eleven and even twelve 
feet have been recorded. 

" Tigers vary greatly in size and weight ; those of the Tippera, Sylhet, 
and Chittagong Hills are smaller in every way, as far as my experience 
went, than those which inhabited the churs and riverain lands in the same 
part of Bengal." 

To judge by the questions which are repeatedly put to us on 
the subject, there seems to be much difference of opinion as to 
the height which Elephants attain. On this point Mr. Simson 
writes as follows : — 

" I cannot say much about exact heights. The largest Elephant I ever 
rode or saw was one called ' Bruce,' which belonged to the Government stud 
at Dacca ; it was, I believe, about ten feet high, and had only one tusk, 
which was magnificent. This animal shook me to pieces ; I could not 
shoot properly off him. Latterly he became so slow as to be almost a 
nuisance when in line. 

" My own female Elephants, the large howdah ones, varied in size, 
I think, from a little under seven feet to nearly eight at the shoulder ; I 
never recorded the exact size. Mahouts and merchants who sold E>lephants 


always made them out taller than they actually were ; I went by the rule, 
' Twice round an Elephant's fore foot, when standing with it on the ground, 
is the height of the animal at the shoulder.' Stout, deep-bodied, short- 
legged, broad-backed Elephants are the -ones to choose; lanky, long-legged, 
narrow animals are of much less value." 

These extracts are not the best which might have been selected 
to give an idea of the author's style. He is seen at his best when 
graphically describing in detail the result of an enjoyable day's 
sport, with all its varied incidents of danger, disappointment, or 
success. He gives valuable hints throughout to sportsmen who 
may be keen enough to follow his example, but who lack experience 
and a knowledge of the country ; while the interspersal of some 
good anecdotes here and there make this book a most readable 

Catalogue of the Birds of Suffolk : with an Introduction and 
Remarks on their Distribiition. By Churchill Babington, 
D.D., F.L.S., &c., Eector of Cockaeld, Suffolk. 8vo, pp. 281, 
with a Map and seven Photographs. London : Van Voorst. 

This Catalogue is reprinted from the ' Proceedings of the 
Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History,' and was 
issued to the members in 1884 as far as the end of the Land 
Birds (p. 110), the remainder being issued in 1886. It forms a 
welcome addition to the already long list of county avifaunas, 
and should find a place in every ornithologist's library. 

It is of course much easier to criticise a work of this kind 
than to write it, but we candidly think that Dr. Babington has 
not hit upon the best mode of presenting his facts. His division 
of the county into eight Districts formed by the combination of 
two or more Hundreds, with purely artificial boundaries, and 
the employment throughout the volume of different type to 
indicate this division and subdivision, tends rather to perplex 
the reader than to enlighten him. One has constantly to turn 
back to the Introduction to ascertain what districts are intended 
by the numbers which are given under the head of each species, 
and from the Introduction one must go to the last chapter in the 
book " on the distribution of the birds of Suffolk " to discover 
the natural and physical condition of these districts, whether 


woodland or marshland, inland or littoral, before one is in a 
position to estimate the value of the information supplied. This 
is too troublesome a process to be repeated with equanimity, 
especially in an age when new books succeed each other in such 
rapid succession that it is difficult to keep pace with the flow of 
literature on any given subject. 

Dr. Babington's chapter, however, on the distribution of birds 
in Suffolk will be read both with pleasure and profit, since it 
conveys a very fair notion of the physical aspect of the county 
at the present time, and the changes which have been affected 
by drainage, cultivation of waste land, disafforesting, and re- 

" The woods and plautations in the county are almost entirely of modern 
growth ; some timber is also scattered about, but trees of all kinds are 
diminishing in many parts and perhaps generally ; ancient forests such as 
those at Staverton and Fakenham are very rare, as are also old woods, 
those for instance near Needham Market. 

" Of marsh land there is now for the most part no great quantity, and 
much fen has entirely disappeared. . . . The fens which once occupied a 
large district about Mildenhall appear to have been drained in the early 
years of the present century ; the peat remains in a dry form. . . . There 
are no mountains and no rocks, and even the hills scattered about the 
county are few and inconsiderable. . . . On the coast there is abundance 
of sand and shingle, especially on Orford Beach, the acreage of which is 

probably larger than anything else of the kind on the east coast 

Adjoining the sea are considerable estuaries formed by the Stour, the 
Orwell, and the Deben. . . . There are also large pieces of water of a 
brackish character, particularly Breydon Water, Lake Lothing, and Thorpe 
Mere. The large tract of loose blowing sand below which there is chalk at 
various depths, lying in the north-west part of the county and known as the 
'Breck District,' is a peculiar feature, having its characteristic avifauna." 

Dr. Babington's sketch of these physical conditions no doubt 
explains to some extent the distribution of the birds which are to 
be met with in the county, and accounts for their great variety. 
He tells us that 247 species may be regarded with reasonable 
certainty as Suffolk birds, and of these a very large proportion — 
more than half — are distributed over the whole of the county. 
It is a little surprising to learn that no ornithologist in Suffolk 
has detected the presence (even temporarily, as during the period 
of migration) of the Water Pipit or the White Wagtail, and that 


notwithstanding the geographical position of the county, so 
favourably situated as it is for the visits of feathered stragglers 
from the Continent, the occurrence of the Great Reed Warbler, 
Savi's Warbler, and the Ortolan Bunting is considered more or 
less doubtful. 

Dr. Babington's book will doubtless awaken fresh interest in 
the study of Ornithology in Suffolk, and we may expect to hear 
of the discovery of these and some other species which hitherto 
seem to have escaped observation. The enumeration of the local 
lists of birds which he has consulted, and the public and private 
collections in the county which he has examined, testify to the 
care and pains whieh the author has bestowed upon the pre- 
paration of this useful volume. 

British Birds' Eggs : a Handbook of British Oology. By A. G. 
BuTLEB, F.L.S., F.Z.S. Parts IV - VI. 8vo, pp. 113 - 219. 

London: E. W. Janson. 1886. 

Works designed for publication in parts do not always appear 
punctually, nor are they, when begun, always completed. Mr. 
Butler may be congratulated both upon punctuality and com- 
pletion. We have already noticed the first three parts of his 
work (Zool. 1886, p. 378) ; the remaining three are now before 
us, forming a goodly volume of 220 pages, with thirty-eight 
coloured plates of eggs. Looking at some of the earlier jilates, 
as they appeared, we felt compelled to express disappointment, 
as they did not seem to us to be sufidciently accurate in colouring. 
In the later parts there is a marked improvement in this respect, 
several of the figures, although chromo-lithographs, being almost 
as good as if coloured by hand. 

Looking at the number of plates (which contain 370 figures) 
and the price at which the book is published, we do not doubt 
that there are many who will be glad to possess in a single 
volume a handy guide such as this to the study of British 
Oology. It may be added that Mr. Butler gives figures not only 
of typical specimens of each species, but also of many of the 
most striking varieties. 



Vol. XL] FEBRUARY, 1887. [No. J 22. 

By Prof. F. Jeffrey Befx, M.A. 

We are so much in the habit of associating hardness of the 
external parts with the Sea-urchin, the Starfish, or the Brittle- 
star that it is not at first sight easy to believe that the soft- 
boclied Sea-slug belongs to the same great division of the Animal 
Kingdom as the forms just named. There are, however, very 
good reasons for placing the Sea-slugs or Holothurians (in the 
same division of the Echinodermata with the Urchins (Echinoids), 
the Starfishes (Asteroids), or the Brittle- stars (Ophiuroids). 

If we put our knowledge of the fact that a number of these 
echinoderms have hard outer skins into a generahsed form, we 
should say that the Echinodermata had deposits of lime-salts in 
their integument ; this is as true of nearly all Holothurians as 
it is of other members of the group ; the striking difl'erence is 
that these deposits in the Sea-slug are not, as a rule, continuous ; 
they do not form a compact test, the parts of which fit close to 
one another as they do, for example, in the Urchin, nor do they 
form a lattice- work, as in the Starfish. As an ordinary rule, 
the calcareous deposits are scattered spicules, which may be 
rod-like, cup-shaped, or discoid, like wheels or anchors ; some- 
times, indeed, they form, as in Psolus fabricii, a continuous 
arrangement of tile-like scales on the dome-shaped upper surface; 
and, on the other hand, they sometimes are altogether absent, 
or disappear with the advance of age ; it is obvious that they 
must be reduced to a minimum in those species which are 

ZOOLOGIST. FKB. 1887. ^ 



edible — the Beches-de-mer, or TreiDangs, which are so abundant 
in the Eastern Seas, and so much relished by the gourmands of 

The possession of calcareous deposits is but one of the two 
leading characteristics of the Eehinodermata : when we compare 
a Starfish with a Crayfish we see that, while the latter has a 
definite right and left side, or is bilaterally symmetrical, a Star- 
fish has a number of arms or rays, or exhibits a radial symmetry : 

and in the next place we observe that, 
though there are exceptions, such as 
in the case of the common Sun- star 
of our own shores, yet the ordinary 
rule is that these rays are five in 
number. Further, if we look to the 
lower surface of a Starfish, we note 
that along the rays there are arranged 
double rows of little tubes or suckers, 
and if we examine a Sea-urchin we see 
that the rows of suckers are separated 
by inter-radial spaces in which there 
are no suckers. Now, if we examine 
a typical Holothurian, such as a 
Cucumaria (fig. 1) we find that there 
are here five equidistant double rows 
of suckers, which mark the five rays 
and are separated from one another 
by bare interradial spaces. 

In the possession, then, of a quin- 
queradiate symmetry and of calca- 
reous deposits in its integument a Holothurian conforms to our 
idea of a typical Echinoderm. 

The mouth is placed at one end of the body and the vent at 
the other ; round the mouth is a circlet of tentacles, which in 
the simplest cases are ten in number — that is, there are five 
pairs ; these tentacles may be withdrawn into the body, and in 
some cases this retraction is aided by five radially placed muscles. 
At the base of these tentacles is a circular vessel, containin"- a 
fluid and giving off branches to the tentacles, and five larger 
trunks which run along the rays of the body, and communicate 
with the suckers ; this circular vessel, with its tentacular and 

Fig. 1. — A Holothurian, Cucum- 
aria Inland, with the buccal 
tentacles expanded. Twice the 
natural size (Cassell's ' Natu- 
ral History,' volri. p272). 



radial branches, makes up one of the most characteristic struc- 
tures of Echinoderm organisation— the system of water-vessels. 
In the Starfish it communicates directly with the exterior by a 
canal which opens on the upper surface of the body, but which 
in the Sea-slug hangs freely in the body cavity and draws its 
water thence. On the circular vessels and its trunks there are 
swellings or sacs with contractile walls, and it is by the action 
of these that the water is propelled through the system ; when 
it is driven into the tentacles or the suckers these parts are 
forthwith erected. 


Fig. 2. — Internal Structuee of a Holothdeian. o, Mouth; /, Intestine; 
d, Cloaca; a, Vent; c, Branched stone-canal ; p, Polian vesicle ; rr. Lungs; 
»•', their point of insertion into the Cloaca ; ?«, Longitudinal muscle. (From 
Gegenbaur, ' Comparative Anatomy,' Bell's translation, p. 215.) 

The intestine is looped and opens by a vent at the end of the 
body opposite to the mouth ; its walls are exceedingly delicate, 
and owing to the fact that the contents are often sandy and 
gravelly, or composed of calcareous debris, they are frequently 


found to be broken in preserved or dissected specimens. When 
irritated or alarmed a Sea-slug ejects its intestines, but by no 
means dies on account of this apparently suicidal act ; just like 
all other Echinoderms it possesses a power of repair amply 
sufficient to make up for even the most remarkable acts of 

In Cucumarin, and in a large number of Holothurians, there 
are connected with the cloaca, into which the intestine opens, a 
pair of elaborately and exquisitely branched delicate tubes which 
extend far forwards into the body ; into these water passes from 
the exterior and is again driven out ; as this supply of fresh 
water brings with it oxygen, and as this oxygen is only separated 
by a thin wall from the carbonic acid gas in the body cavity an 
exchange of gases is effected — the water giving up its fresh 
oxj^gen, and taking away the carbonic acid or waste product;* 
owing to this respiratory function the branched tubes are called 

There is only one other organ of the Sea-slug to which refer- 
ence need be made here, and it also is connected with the walls 
of the cloaca ; it consists of a system of blind tubes which may 
be very small or very large in number, and may form a compact 
mass, be branched, or whorled in arrangement. These tubes, 
which we know by the indifferent name of Cuvierian organs, have 
had very various functions ascribed to them at different times ; 
it is now certain that, as shall be shown later on, Prof. Samper's 
supposition that they were organs of offence is correct. 

Slight as our knowledge of Holothurian organisation is from 
this sketch, it is sufficient to enable us to understand the 
principles on which the group is classified; to the consideration 
of its arrangement we will, therefore, now proceed, taking on 
our way opportunities of saying a few words about the more 
interesting examples which are to be found in our own seas. 

If we start with such a typical form as the Cncumaria which 
has formed the basis of the preceding account, we find we have 
had to do with an elongated animal whose body is divided by 
five rays into five parts, that the suckers are confined to the 
rays, that there are five pairs of tentacles, and scattered spicules 

-■■ Compare " Some of the Ways in which Animals Breathe," Zool. 1886, 
pp. 3Uo— 318. 


in the integument ; there are five retractor muscles for the 
tentacles, and branched lungs. 

Several species of Cacumaria are found in the British Seas, 
but one only is of large size ; that is the sausage-shaped creature 
which E. Forbes called the Great Sea-cucumber {Cucumaria 
frondosa) and the Tangle Sea-cucumber (C fucicola), in his 
well-known work, these being synonymous terms. This species 
has been found as far north as Greenland, and lives in North 
American as well as North European waters. Dr. William 
Stimpson, the well-known American naturalist, states that it 
makes very palatable soup. 

The first change from the typical Cacumaria is seen in the 
modification of the tentacles, one pair of which becomes smaller 
than the other four ; this is to be observed in some species of 
Cucumaria itself. The next step is the scattering of the suckers, 
which are no longer confined to the lines of the rays, but 
distributed apparently irregularly over the whole of the body ; 
this also is found in what some naturalists still call Cucumaria, 
though Dr. Lampert the author of a recent monograph of the 
group, has proposed for such Sea-cucumbers the new generic 
term of Semperia* — a name given, it need hardly be said, 
in honour of the distinguished professor of Wiirzburg, who 
during his now classical travels in the Philippines devoted much 
attention to the Holothurians ; in our own seas the common 
Thy one {Thy one impillosa) is an excellent example of a form in 
which the suckers are scattered over the whole body, or take on 
what systematists call a sporadipod arrangement. 

In another set of forms the integument becomes very heavily 
armed with calcareous plates, and the body is consequently 
always of the same form, and not variable like the Great Sea- 
cucumber. The Sea-girkin {Genus lacteus and 0. hrunneus of 
Forbes being synonymous terms) is one good example of this ; 
another is presented by the Snail Sea-cucumbers (members of 
the genus Psolus), though here the species vary a good deal in 
the extent of their armature, the circumpolar P. fahricii being 
much richer in large plates than the P. phantapus which is 
found in our own seas. Another remarkable peculiarity in 

■■' New, that is, for Holothurians ; it has long been used amongst 
Mollusca, and if the generic division be allowed to stand, it must be altered 
for Echinoderms. 



Psohs is the fact that the suckers are confined to the lower 
(trivial) surface, and that the movement of the creature is, 
therefore, in a way comjDarable to that of the snail. 

We may now pass to another group in which lungs are like- 
wise found, but in which there are no special retractor muscles 
for the tentacles, and these organs, instead of being branched as 
in Ciicumaria (the Dendrochirotae), are stouter and shield-shaped 
(Asj)idochirot8e). The best known genus of this group is Holo- 
thuria, of which, though there are a large number of species, 
only two are to be found in the British Seas ; H. intestmalis has 
only been dredged in the Minch, and H. nigra is found in the 
English Channel off the coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall. 

It is to the latter species — which has various local names, 
but is best known as the " Nigger" or the " Cotton-spinner" — 
that we owe our certainty as to the function of the Cuvierian 
organs. Holothuria nigra has been called the Cotton-spinner 
from its habit of shooting out from its hinder end white tubes 
which swell up in the sea-water, and become exceedingly sticky, 
so that an object — such as a crab — which becomes covered 
with them finds it exceedingly difficult to set itself free. This 
pernicious habit causes this Sea-slug to be held in great detes- 
tation by fishermen. The tubes may be drawn out to twelve 
times their own length, and at the same time they swell up to 
seven times their original diameter ; six of these tubes, drawn 
out to be so thin as to be scarcely visible, are sufficient to hold 
up a weight of nearly 1000 grains. It is easy to understand the 
effect such powerful, tenacious, and extensile threads must have 
on any object which they attack. 

While all these forms are provided both with feet and with 
lungs there are other Holothurians which depart more widely 
from the Cucumarian type ; in some lungs, but no suckers, are 
developed, and in others neither lungs nor suckers, either radial 
or scattered, are to be found. Of the former of these two groups, 
of which Molpadia may be taken as an example, we have no 
representatives in our own seas ; of the latter there are two 
which are well known — Si/najJta inhcerens and S. digitata. At 
first sight these creatures appear to be very different from our 
typical Cucumaria, owing to the fact that the quinqueradiate 
symmetry is no longer marked by the tube-feet externally or 
their vessels internally, so that they appear as bilaterally sym- 


metrical as many worms ; they still, however, have calcareous 
deposits in their integument; Chirodota, an allied genus, having 
little rounded structures which look like toothed wheels, and 
Synapta, having fenestrated plates to which a projecting anchor- 
shaped spicule is attached ; it is to the projecting ends of these 
anchors that the skin of Synapta owes its peculiar roughness. 
Though larger than Chirodota, Synajyta never reaches in our 
own seas to the size of more than a few inches, but in the 
tropical seas the species of this genus may attain to a great 
length, being even as much as seven feet long. Synapta is 
remarkable among Echinoderms for having the sexes united. 

A group of curiously modified Holothurians have been made 
known by the recent explorations in deep water, but as the 
Elasipoda are confined to great depths, and an enumeration of 
their characteristics would obscure these leading facts in Holo- 
thurian organisation which it is the purpose of this paper to 
describe, we must postpone any notice of them to another 

During the last few months some of the more leading types 
of Holothurians have been set out in spirit for exhibition in the 
Starfish Gallery of the British Museum (Natural History). 
What are to be seen there are such forms as every reader of 
' The Zoologist ' ought to know a little about, but they do not, 
of course, give any idea of the extent of the National Collection 
of these animals. Comparatively rich as that collection is, 
it is certain that it still wants a number of described forms, and 
that there are still many Holothurians in the sea which have 
never yet been named or described. If this little paper should 
excite the interest of any reader in these instructive and incom- 
pletely known animals he may give a proof thereof by devoting 
his leisure to their collection ; in justice, however, it must be 
said that the appearance of his preserved specimens will not 
give the brilliant results that fall to the collector of birds or 
insects. Holothurians have an irritating way of ejecting their 
viscera or of breaking to pieces ; the best way, therefore, to kill 
and preserve them is to plunge them at once into spirit ; before 
the specimens are packed oft' and sent to the Museum it is well 
to completely change this spirit, as it soon becomes weakened 
by the quantity of water in the Sea-slug's body. 



IN 1886. 
By Robert Gray. 

[The following notes, which I hope ma}- prove of some interest to your 
readers, have been extracted from my journal of tlie voyage of tlie s. s. 
'Eclipse' of Peterhead, David Gray, Master, to the Greenland Wliale 
Fishery last season. I may state here that in former years the ' Eclipse' 
had left Peterhead regularly for the Greenland Seal and Whale Fisliery 
early in March ; but tlie small number of Seals obtained during the last 
few years at the Seal-fishing, and the low price to which Seal-oil had fallen, 
rendered the chance of obtaining a sufficient number of Seals to defray the 
additional expense incurred in their capture so uncertain as to cause the 
owners to delay the vessel's departure to the date mentioned below, sending 
her out therefore with the intention of prosecuthig the Whale-fishing alone. 
— R. G.l 

Leaving Peterhead on April 20th, the 'Eclipse' the day 
following arrived at Lerwick. While here fifteen Shetland men 
were shipped to complete our crew of fifty-five hands all told. 
Sundry preparations being completed, on the forenoon of the 
22nd the 'Eclipse' got under way, and before the sun set the 
lofty cliffs of Noss faded dimly in the distance astern. 

The 23rd saw us well clear of land ; already we noticed with 
interest unmistakable signs of our advance to the northward. 
Seventy miles N. of Lambaness the first Mallemokes, Procellaria 
glacialis, were seen ; some thirty miles further north several schools 
of Bottle-nose Whales, Hyperooclon rostratus. They appeared to 
be feeding — not on their northward journey, as we have noticed 
them year after year in the same latitude, some six weeks earlier 
in the season. Also a few Kittiwakes, Rissa tridactyla, and 
Gannets, S^lla hassana, were noticed, and just before dark a 
small bird, believed to be a Snow-flake, Plectrophanes nivalis, 
was seen fluttering about the rigging, but unfortunately it was 
not captured to prove its identity. 

Continuing to steam to the northward we experienced remark- 
ably fine weather until the evening of the 2J:th, when the wind 
freshened from the northward, and the sea began to rise. In the 
evening a few Bottle-nose Whales were seen going southwards, 
and at the same time a Killer Whale, Orca gladiator, easily 
recognised by the height of its dorsal fin, pursuing a similar 


direction. The wind continued adverse throughout the 35th, so 
that we made but little progress. Some Porpoises, Phoccsna 
communis, were seen in the afternoon, the first I had seen so far 
north : I apprehend therefore that they were beyond the northern 
limit of their range.* 

On the 26th and 27th we had light head-winds with frequent 
showers of snow. Crossed the Arctic Circle on the latter date, 
and noticed the first Looms, Alca arra, and Rotches, Mergulus 
alle ; also a few Bottle-nose Whales and one large Finner, most 
probably Balcenoptera sihhaldu. On the evening of the 28th the 
brightness of the northern sky indicated our approach to the ice, 
and as we advanced towards it the teiuperature of the water, which 
had previously stood for some time at 39°, began to fall, slowly 
at first, more rapidly afterwards, until it stood at 29° F., when we 
were within half a mile of the ice itself. The " West Ice," as it 
is called by the whalers, lying along the east coast of Greenland, 
northwards from Cape Farewell, renders its shores ice-bound 
throughout the entire year, and thus limits the extent of open 
water to the westward. Our position being lat. 70° U' N. and 
long. 2° 23' W., the position of the ice-edge this season may be 
considered normal. Schools of Bottle-nose Whales seen in the 
afternoon, and at midnight we watched two large Finners playing 
about the ice-edge. By their bluish grey colour and by the 
diminutive size of tlieir dorsal fins I at once recognised the B. sib- 
bcddii. I will embrace this opportunity of correcting a state- 
ment in the ' Arctic Voyages of A. E. Nordenskiold' (p. 52). The 
author says : — " It is probable that ' Finners' never live in colder 
water than 2-5° C. (= 36-9° F.), and that the northern limit of 
their distribution coincides with sea of this temperature." It is 
a fact well known, to those on board the 'Eclipse' at least, that 
this whale {Balcenoptera sibbalclii) is found in water quite as 
cold as any other, BalcBiia mysticetus not excepted, I have seen 
it in water below 32° quite as often as above it, and the reader by 
referring to the Table appended will see how often the tem- 
perature of the water was below 36°, and how often above it on 
the days in which it is mentioned. Hereafter I hope to show that 
its northern distribution, instead of being restricted to a line of 
temperature at once arbitrary and unreasonable agrees more 

* For latitudes aud longitudes, temperatures, &c., see Table appended. 


nearly with the southern distribution of Balana mysticetus, and as 
the vanguard of the latter retreats to the northward the vanguard 
of B. sibbaldii advances to occupy the ground left vacant. 

Having now reached the ice, it remained for us to proceed 
northwards towards the whaling ground ; but as some time yet 
remained before we could expect to see whales, we hoped to pick 
up a few old Saddle Seals, Phoca groenlandica, on our way north, 
and for tliis purpose the examination of each successive point of 
ice was commenced. By way of explanation, I may state that in 
the month of March, the Saddle Seals, male and female, come 
from the northward and southward, along the ice-edge, and, 
owing apparently to the formation of the latter, they converge 
towards a great point of ice, which in a normal season lies along 
the 73rd parallel of latitude, and runs out beyond the meridian of 
Greenwich. Here meeting, the united body of seals direct their 
course inwards, until ice is found suitable for their purpose 
They now take the ice, and soon afterwards the young seals 
are born. On the 3rd of April, at what might be called a 
critical period in the history of the seal, the close-time ends, the 
sealers are at liberty to kill them, and before the creatures 
are many days old the whole " pack " is generally slaughtered 
before their mother's eyes. And what for nearly two hundred 
years has proved a sure and certain source of annual wealth, the 
support of an extensive industry, is — unless legislation comes 
speedily to its rescue — doomed to almost complete annihilation, 
by the greedy, short-sightedness of man. Towards the end of 
April the few young Saddle Seals which have escaped this waste- 
ful destruction, having cast their snow-white fur, and assumed 
instead a coat of steel-blue hair, marked over with small dark 
spots, are now able to provide for themselves. Abandoned to 
their own resources, the " spots " as they are called, betake 
themselves towards the sea, and dispersing along the ice-edge are 
seen, alas ! too infrequently ! lying on the small outlying pieces 
of ice near the pack edge, enjoying the bright sunshine, and the 
warmth of the summer air. Before the young seals have taken 
to the water, the males commence seeking the females ; pairing 
having taken place, all the old Saddle Seals abandon tlie locality, 
and, dividing into droves or herds, disperse both north and 
south along the ice edge. Selecting the outlying " streams " and 
'• points," the old seals again take tbe ice, and the hunting of 


them constitutes the " Old Saddle Sealing." A good man,v 
" Finners," B. sibbaldii, were seen on the 29th, and many Looms 
flying eastward, as we afterwards discovered, for the next point of 
ice. A few " spots" (young Saddle Seals) were seen on the 30th, 
and one Great Skua, Stercorarius catarrhactes, was for some time 
seen following in the ship's wake. This is only the second bird 
of this species of Skua I have seen in these seas during the last 
four seasons. 

May 1st. " Finner Whales," B. sibbaldii, numerous in the 
evening. Having crossed a deep bight, May 2nd found us 
at another point in lat. 75° 1' N., long. 0° 42' W. Continuing 
our way northward, the same evening we passed a Norwegian 
steamer, lying amongst the ice, engaged in sealing. On the 
morning of the 3rd a patch of old Saddle Seals was discovered, 
numbering about 5000 : they were scattered over a strip of ice 
some three miles in length by one in breadth: as many as fifty 
seals might have been collected on one single piece of ice. The 
boats, eight in number, were manned and sent away. Every shot 
drove hundreds off the ice, and in a remarkably short time the 
whole herd was driven into the water. After going a few miles to 
the northward they again went on to the ice in considerable 
numbers ; their coats, however, not having had time to dry 
before they were again attacked, they required even less per- 
suasion than before to return to their watery element. A heavy 
swell amongst the ice made shooting difficult, and kept the seals 
continually awake. All day they continued howling and screech- 
ing in the most melancholy manner, the sure and certain sign, 
the seamen said, of bad weather. Having bagged some 120 
seals, the boats returned on board, and we made sail and pro- 
ceeded nortliwards. One Narwlial seen; Snow-birds, Larus 
eburneus, and Burgomasters, Larus glaucus, numerous as these 
birds always are when seals are in the neighbourhood. 

A heavy gale from the N.E., with showers of snow, blew on 
the 6th ; having found shelter under lee of a point of ice, we lay 
comfortably under storm canvas. During the afternoon a small 
bird was noticed fluttering about the rigging ; some time after- 
wards it was seen crouching under lee of the weather bulwarks, 
its feathers puffed out to their full extent ; latterly it found its 
way underneath the forecastle-head, where, protected from the 
inclemency of the weather, it soon fell into its last long sleep. 


On examining it I found it to be a Wheatear, Saxicola oenanthe. 
Ouv position was lat. 77° N., long. 1° W. Numbers of old 
Saddle Seals were seen coming from the S.E. on the 6th, 
undoubtedly having been washed oif an outlying " stream," and 
now returning to the main ice. On the 7th, the s.s. " Hope," of 
Peterhead, spoke us. We learnt from Capt. J. Gray, that the 
young Saddle Seal fishing had proved a complete failure. Com- 
paratively fine weather was experienced until March 25tli, when 
the weather changing for the worse, a succession of heavy north- 
easterly gales set in. Several of the Norwegian vessels were almost 
ashore on Jan May en, and one Scotch vessel, the 'Polar Star,' was 
driven as far south as Iceland (a distance of 400 miles), where she 
narrowly escaped being wrecked. The strong winds had also the 
efi^ect of separating tlie ice, and necessarily also of dividing the 
seals into a number of separate patches. Owing to the severity 
of the weather the ships were unable to lower their boats until 
the 7th of April. The consequence was that the young seals 
were older than usual before being killed, and therefore in better 
condition. The seals were found in lat. 74° N., long. 2° E., 
at the extremity of the " point " already referred to, a few 
miles from the sea. Twenty-one Norwegians and three Scotch 
vessels were present, the former captured about 31,600, the 
latter about 4500 " white coats " (young Saddle Seals), 
besides these, a few old Saddle Seals were captured, perhaps 
4000. In round numbers, the twenty-four vessels present cap- 
tured a total of 40,000 seals, old and young, an average of 1600 
per ship, certainly quite insufficient to pay expenses, and 
undoubtedly the poorest young Saddle Sealing as yet recorded. 

Towards the evening of the 8th the weather moderated suffi- 
ciently to allow us to proceed. After " fishing " several patclies 
of seals which we discovered on our way north, the I4tli found us 
in lat. 78° approaching whaling-ground. On the 11th, amongst a 
patch of seals, a young Saddle was noticed lying on the ice, still 
wearing its snow-white coat. By the lotli, after several days 
work, the necessary preparations for whaling were completed. 
600 fathoms (= 1,200 yards) of line were carefully coiled into 
each boat, harpoons were spliced on to the lines, harpoon guns 
fixed in the boat bows, &c. The day following we spoke the 
s.s. 'Erik,' of Peterhead. Capt. A. Gray reported having been 


north in whaling-ground since April 25th; on April 30th one 
wbale was seen (exceptionally early), but no others since then. 

The North Greenland whaling-ground lies to the northward 
of the 75th parallel, to the westward of a line running obliquely 
north eastward, from the intersection of the latitude mentioned. 
by the meridian of Greenwich, to Amsterdam Island off the 
west coast of Spitzbergen. In the area whose south-eastern 
limits have been described, the margin of the Greenland west ice 
lies. Its sinuous outhne presents a succession of points and 
bays, outlying " streams " and deep recesses. Among these the 
Greenland Right Whale makes its appearance about the middle 
of May, coming apparently from the S.W. They appear to come 
up through the very heart of the Greenland ice, finding breathing 
room in the lanes and open spaces of water, which are continually 
breaking out and closing again amongst tbe floes, perchance 
occasionally finding sporting-room in some large "polynia," 
far removed from the sea. Diverted apparently from their 
northern course by encountering a close barrier of ice, running 
obliquely across their path as they advance northwards, they 
are gradually forced to the eastwai'd, until reaching lat. 78° they 
make their appearance at the sea edge. Here they resort during 
a variable period, from a month to six weeks or even less, in the 
months of May and June. Owing apparently to the opening of 
the obstruction referred to, they leave as suddenly as they made 
their appearance, are last seen going N.W., and the North 
Greenland whaling is over for the season. 

After working north-eastward along the margin of the ice, on 
the evening of the 18th our further progress northward was pre- 
vented by a sudden alteration in the line of the ice-edge ; 
hitherto its direction had been about N.E., now it run eastwards 
for some distance, then taking a sweep to the S.E. it ran in upon 
the north-west coast of Spitzbergen. The ice lying east and 
west, forming the angle just referred to, is known as the 
" barrier," its origin being believed to be distinct from that of the 
west ice. Certainly its position remains almost unchanged 
throughout the season, and northerly winds have but little 
power in opening out its southern face. Most probably this ice 
owes its position to an easterly current, which carries it west- 
ward along the southern shores of Franz Joseph Land, round 


the north end of Spitzbergen, and hence into the Greenland 

Easterly winds having prevailed the ice was exceedingly tight, 
and there was that want of outlying " points " and sheltered 
" bights " which forebodes a bad season. Narwhals were very 
numerous, flocks of Looms and Botches were flying hither and 
thither, Snow-birds and Burgomasters were flying overhead. 
Mallemokes followed in our wake. No whales making their 
appearance at the " barrier," accompanied by the ' Erik ' and the 
' Polar Star,' we took advantage of a northerly wind and ran 
south to try our luck in the next " bight." On the morning of 
the i9th, while lying becalmed a few miles off the ice-edge, a 
whale suddenly made its appearance alongside the ' Erik,' and 
her boats took it. The colour of the water was grass-green. 
Looms were very numerous. At noon of the same day, a breeze 
springing up from the S.E., and the ice being slack to the 
westward, we made sail and ran through it. Towards evening 
the wind increased to the force of a gale, and next morning, 
after having ran N.W. for about fifty miles, we tacked at the edge 
of the " fast ice," consisting of hard packed floes, then lay. The 
wind died away about noon and thick fog set in; at night a 
strong breeze sprang up from the westward, and clearing the fog 
away we found ourselves lying in an open space of water, 
circular in shape, some ten miles in diameter ; the ice appeared 
to have completely closed behind us to the eastward ; large floes 
were lying in sight to the westward. The colour of the water 
still continued grass-green, and contained abundance of whales' 
food, chiefly Calanus Finmarckicus. On the 21st a small whale 
made its appearance, evidently coming from the S.E., and was 
captured by the * Polar Star." 

The westerly wind continuing, it began to tell on the tightness 
of the ice to the westward. A vast expanse of open water had 
broken out amongst the floes, and our room becoming somewhat 
circumscribed, after some trouble we succeeded in entering it. 
The water, clear and cerulean, contained no life ; not even a bird 
was to be seen. 

* Might I suggest that the wi-eckage of the 'Jeanuette,' United States 
Exploring Vessel, found on an ice-floe, near Juhanhaab, South Greenland, 
came by this route, rather than by a north-western.— See 'Nature,' December 
4th, 1884. 


Against strong northerly winds we now commenced to work 
our way back again to the " barrier." On the 24th, while plying 
northwards against a strong breeze, a short sharp sea or heavy 
" wind-lipper" running, a whale was discovered about a hundred 
yards from the ship, apparently lying asleep — a black object 
resembling in size and shape a fisherman's buoy was all that 
appeared water. Perfectly motionless, it had no apparent 
inclination to rise to the sea, the short sharp waves washing freely 
over it. On the nearer approach of the ship, apparently awakened 
by the noise, it first rose fully six feet above the water, then sank 
quickly out of sight. At the distance of only a few yards I easily 
recognised it as the upper jaw of a Greenland Eight Whale, and 
that part which originally attracted attention must therefors have 
been the tip of the animal's nose. When, where, and how the 
whales sleep is an interesting question which I do not jjropose 
discussing here : certainly it is a rare occurrence to see one asleep 
at the surface, especially in stormy weather. An anxious look-out 
was kept for two hours afterwards, without anything further 
being seen. 

Reaching lat. 80° on the 26th, the ice was found to have 
undergone a remarkable change for the better, floes and fields 
were lying about quite unbroken in the sea. The same evening 
a whale was seen, which we succeeded in capturing. Falling 
over on its side during its death-struggle, it bent its body 
forwards until its caudal extremity was within some twenty feet of 
its chin. While in this strange position it spun round the centre 
of a circle, of which its body lay along by far the greater part of 
its circumference. In addition to the particulars regarding the 
capture, size, &c., of this and the other whales we captured, to be 
found in a Table appended, I may state that the tail of this one 
measured, transversely, 17 ft. 6 in. ; antero-posteriorly along the 
median line 5 ft. ; and that the smallest girth of the rump, 
5 ft. 6 in., was obtained at the anterior commencement of the 
lobes of the tail. 

During the following week we captured five whales ; of these 
the smallest was that killed on May 28th. In proportion to its 
length — about 30 ft. — its head seemed remarkably short, 
certainly not more than one-fourth of the entire length; its skin 
was decidedly bluish black, almost azure-blue. Including those 
which we captured, we saw perhaps twenty whales, nearly all of 
small size. Except coming out below the ice, feeding and 


returning again, they seemed to be going in no particular 
direction. Strong gales prevailed from the northward ; often 
the boats were quite unable to pull to windward, and sometimes 
had even difficulty in living in the short sharp sea. Imagine, 
therefore, the additional difficulty and danger of harpooning 
and lancing whales to keeping a boat above water in such 
weather. Frequent snow-storms and stinging frost made four or 
five hours in an open boat none the less uncomfortable under 
such circumstances. The water, grass-green in colour, sometimes 
thick and obscure, sometimes clear and transparent, contained 
abundance of surface life, Calanus finmarchicus being as usual 
by far the most abundant — next, perhaps, Clio horealis. Birds 
(principally Looms and Rotches), Narwhals and Floe-rats {Phoca 
hispida) were numerous. 

Whether going to windward or to leeward it was observed 
that whales, when amongst much sea, invariably appeared heading 
to leeward, apparently by interposing their backs between their 
spiracles and the sea, preventing the access of water into their 
lungs during inspiration. In this our boats were more than 
once deceived, for several times, when pulling to leeward after a 
whale, which had dived heading in that direction, they wei'e 
somewhat disgusted to find that, on its next appearance it was 
considerably to windward of its former position. In former 
voyages I have a distinct recollection of chasing whales to 
windward against a short sharp head-sea ; once, at least, while 
personally taking a leading part in the pursuit, several times as 
an onlooker, the observation I made on these occasions was, that 
every time the whale appeared at the surface, invariably turning 
away from its path, it described a circle of no great extent, and 
on coming round again to its old course would continue swimming 
to windward. What appeared to me then a most eccentric-like 
evolution I am now of opinion was performed for the very same 
reason as on the occasions already mentioned, vis., to prevent the 
access of water to the lungs during inspiration. The spiracles 
are semilunar openings about 12 in. long, placed longitudinally on 
the very summit of the head or crown, having their convexities 
turned towards one another and the mesial plane, their posterior 
extremities farther apart than their anterior, which are situated 
within 4 in. of one another. These oxjenings can be opened and 



closed at pleasure, muscular effort, apparently, pulling their convex 
outer borders away from the mesial plane and their inner concave 
borders. These muscles relaxing, the spiracles close by the 
approximation of their own walls, and thus during sleep they are 
seen closed, and after death (post mortem rigidity having ceased) 
the spiracles are found rigidly closed. 

In the following Table will be found the position of the s. s. 
' Eclipse,' the surface temperature of the sea, and the temperature 
of air, at noon, on the different days on which any event of 
zoological interest is recorded as having occurred : — 


April 23 
„ 24 
„ 25 
„ 26 
„ 27 
„ 28 
„ 29 

Ship's Position. 


62° 14' N. 
64° 38' 
64° 49' 
66° 5' 
67° 55' 
70° 14' 
71° 54' 
72° 38' 
74° 20' 
76° 38' 






79° 24' 

0° 25' W. 
2° 33' E. 
1° 53' W. 
2° 23' 
2° 34' 


4° 20' E. 
4° 6' 

2° 0' 
2° 2' 


Surface of Sea. 

47° Fh. 
















48° Fh. 

(To be continued.) 



By Montagu Brown k, F.Z.S. 
Curator, Town Museum, Leicester. 

(Concluded from Zool. 18S6, p. 415.) 

Class Eeptilia. 
Order Saijria. — Fam. Lacertid^. 

Lacerta agilis, Linn. Sand Lizard. — Harley writes : — " This 
species is liable to much variation in colour. It has been met 



with of a pale greenish yellow, with the back of an umber-brown 
colour ; others of a darker hue, and others again variegated with 
black spots down the centre of the back. It is of limited distri- 
bution in the county, being mainly confined to Charnwood Forest 
and the adjacent woodlands." 

Lacerta Tivipara, Jacq. Common Lizard ; " Scaly Lizard," 
" Viviparous Lizard." — Occurs generally in most parts of the 
county, and is common about Charnwood. Harley was informed 
by a correspondent that he had occasionally seen in the neigh- 
bourhood a species of Lizard which affected the leaves of 
brambles and other plants, its habits being described as similar 
to those of a Chameleon, especially when basking in the sun or 
intent on feeding ; but it is well known that this is a common 
habit with Lacerta rivijmra, and probably with most Lizards. 

Fam. SciNciD^. 

Angnis fragilis, Linn. Blind-worm ; " Slow-worm." — Eesi- 
dent and commonly distributed. There are specimens in the 
Museum at Leicester from Bradgate and Bardon Hill. 

Order Ophidia. — Fam. Colubrid^. 

Tropidonotus natrxx (Linn.). Common Snake ; " Einged 
Snake." — Eesident and commonly distributed. A large female 
specimen in the Leicester Museum measures a little over three 
feet. [We have seen one over five feet. — Ed.] 

Fam. ViPERiDiE. 

Vrpcra hcrus, Ijmn. Viper; "Adder." — Eesident and gene- 
rally distributed, but not so common, fortunately, as its harmless 
relative. Harley remarks, under date 1846: — " Pclias hcrus 
and Culuher natrix were abroad very early this season, viz. during 
the first and second week of March. On the 13th and 14th of 
that mouth we noted both reptiles in Bradgate Park. There are 
specimens in the Museum from many localities in the county, 
all of the dark variety. 

Class Batrachia. 

The following are all resident and generally distributed : — 
liana tcmporaria, Linn.; Common Frog. Bufo vulgaris, Laur. ; 
Common Toad. Mulge cristata (Laur.) ; Great Warty Newt ; 


" Warty Eft," " Effet." Molcfe vulgaris (Linn.) ; Smooth Newt ; 
" Common E£fet," " Asker." 

Class Pisces. 
Order Ganoidei. — Fam. Acipenserid^. 
Acipenser sturio, Linn.; Sturgeon. — A rare straggler of 
accidental occm-rence. Harley says a specimen was taken in 
the Soar, below Loughborough, but gives no date. Some few 
years ago a small specimen was taken in the little Kiver Smite 
near to Belvoir. 

Order Acanthopterygii. — Fam. Percid^. 
Percaflnviatilis, Linn. Perch. — Commonly distributed. In 
the Leicester Museum there is a cast of a specimen taken at 
Saddington by Mr. J. Benskin which weighed about three pounds. 
On July 19th, 1886, Mr. Smith presented one to the Museum 
taken at Aylestone which weighed two pounds two ounces. At 
Thornton, where it abounds, I have taken several specimens with 
blunt heads or rounded noses, evidently a malformation, which 
appears, however, persistent. 

Fam. CoTTiD^. 
Cottus (jobio, Linn. Miller's-thumb ; " Bull-head."— Com- 
monly distributed. 

Fam. Gasterosteid-^. 
Gasterosteus aculeatus, Linn. Three-spined Stickleback, 
"Eobin," "Soldier," "Jack Bannel," "Tittle-bat," " Stuts." 
G.pungitius, Linn. Ten-spined Stickleback, "Tinker." — Both 
commonly distributed. 

Order Anacanthini. — Fam. GADiDiE. 
Lota vulgaris, Cuv. Burbot; " Burbolt," "Eel-pout."— 
Pare. It has been occasionally taken in the Soar about Keg- 
worth ; and Harley saw one taken in an eel-net at Zouch Mills, 
near Loughborough. 

Order Physostomi. — Fam. Cyprinid^. 
Cyprimis carpio, Linn. Carp. — Not uncommon in pools 
such as those of Groby and Saddington. 

Barhus vulgaris, Flem. Barbel.— Occurs occasionally in the 


Soar, near its junction with the Trent and Derwent, and is 
frequently caught below Loughborough. 

Gohio fluviatilis, Flem, Gudgeon. — Common in the Soar, 
and in various parts of the county. The largest I have seen 
have been taken at Thornton Eeservoir. 

Leuciscus rutibis (Linn.). Eoach. — Commonly distributed. 
In the Leicester Museum there is a cast of a specimen, taken in 
Narborough waters, which turned the scale at two pounds. 

L. cephalus (Linn.). Chub. — Generally distributed, attaining 
a good size. A specimen, weighing five pounds two ounces and 
a half, taken in the River Soar at Narborough by Mr. T. Lumb, 
Feb. 27th, 1883, and another weighing five pounds and half an 
ounce, taken at the same place and by the same angler, Feb. 6th, 
1885, are in the Leicester Museum. Another taken at Aylestone, 
Feb. 6th, 1883, by Mr. A. Smith, weighed four pounds and a half. 

L. vulgaris, Flem. Dace. — Generally distributed in sharp 
streams — "backwaters" of the rivers. A specimen weighing 
twelve ounces was taken by Mr. W. Benskin in the Soar near 

L. erythrojnhahmis (Linn.). Eudd ; "Eed-eye."— Occasionally 
met with in the Soar. 

L. phoxinus (Linn.). Minnow. — Commonly distributed. 

Tinea vulgaris, Cuv. Tench. — Not very common. 

Abramis bramayhinu. Common Bream ; " Yellow Bream." — 
Commonly distributed in the Soar, where, at Kegworth, I have 
seen many large-sized fish. One taken in this river weighed 
seven pounds. 

A. blicca, Bl. White Bream; " Bream-fiat."— Occurs in the 
Soar and Trent. 

Alhurnus lucid us, Hiickel. Bleak. — Widely diffused. 

Ncmadiilus barbatulus (Linn.). Loach; "Bearded Loach," 
" Stone Loach." — Generally distributed. 

Colitis tcenia, Linn. Spined Loach ; " Groundling." — Locally 
distributed. Has been met with in the Soar and Wreake. I took 
a specimen in a small stream at Aylestone on April 14th, 1883. 

Fam. EsociD^. 
Esox Indus, Linn. Pike. — Commonly distributed, attaining 
a large size in ponds such as those of Bosworth, Saddington, and 
Naseby. In 1811 Harley saw a brace of Pike, taken in a pond 


at Leisliley, the property of Mr. March Phillips, each of which 
weighed twenty-five pounds. I saw one weighing twenty-six 
pounds, which was captured in April, 1869, in Bosworth Pool. 
The MS. Donation Book at the Leicester Museum records, 
August 20th, 1872, the capture of one at Barrow-on-Soar, which 
weighed seventeen pounds and three-quarters, and measured 
three feet six inches in length. It was presented to the Museum 
by Mr. Noble, of Barrow. 

Fam. Salmonid^. 

Salmo salar, Linn. Salmon. — Harley writes, " Found com- 
monly in the Trent and Derwent at their confluence ; in the 
Soar about Kegworth, and near Loughborough." At present, 
however, it must be regarded as rare, although I heard of one 
taken at Eatcliffe Lock, in 1883, which was said to have weighed 
twenty-six pounds. 

Salmo fario, Linn. Common Trout; "Brook Trout." — 
Sparingly distributed in the county. At Bradgate, where it is 
strictly j)reserved, it is abundant, and attains a good size. 

Thymallus vulgaris, Nilss. Grayling. — " Appears to be 
limited to the Soar and its confluence with the Trent." — Harley. 

Fam. MuR^NiD^. 
Anguilla vulgaris, Flem., Eel; and A. latirostris, Broad- 
nosed Eel. Both commonly distributed. 


Petromyzon fliwiatilis, Linn., Lampern, " River Lamprey" ; 
and P. branchiaUs, Linn., Small Lampern, " Pride." Both 
sparingly found in some of the streams of the county. 

By thi<; Rt. Hon. Lord, F.Z S. 

Prompted by your remarks in the last number of ' The 
Zoologist,' and by the excellent plate of the Greater Horse-shoe 
Bat, I venture to offer to your readers a few notes on those 
species of the order Cheiroptera which I have met with in the 
European region. I may mention that I took up the study of 
Bats in the summer of 1870, and in a few days discovered that 


five species are tolerably abundant in the neighbourhood of 
Lilford, and that at least two more, which I have not been able 
satisfactorily to identify, are occasionally to be met with in the 
northern division of Northamptonshire. I have no work of 
reference at hand except Lord Clermont's ' Guide to the Quadru- 
peds and Eeptiles of Europe,' so I adopt his arrangement and 
nomenclature. From the habits of the European Bats a close 
study of the animals in their natural state is almost impossible, 
but to my mind most attractive ; I have no pretence to any 
special knowledge on the subject, and my only object in thus 
addressing you is the hope that my notes may induce some of 
your readers to turn their attention to this comparatively little- 
known branch of Zoolog}', and give us the result of their 
experiences in your Journal. To those who have as yet paid no 
attention to Bats, it may be useful to mention Dr. Dobson's 
exhaustive British Museum Catalogue of the Cheiroptera as the 
standard English work on the subject. 

During my visit to Cyprus in the spring of 1875 I was 
informed by a fellow-countryman, who had resided for some 
years in the island, that a considerable amount of damage to 
fruit was there done by some large Bats : in spite of some search 
in likely localities we did not succeed in finding any of these 
animals during our five weeks' stay on the coasts of Cyprus ; but 
a collector, whom I sent out shortly after the British occupation 
of the island, sent me some thirty specimens of Cynonycteris 
collaris in spirits. It is somewhat remarkable that the fruit- 
eating Bat of Cyprus should be of a different species to that of 
Egypt and Palestine, C. (egyptiacus. I believe that I am correct 
in stating that till the receipt of these Collared Fruit-Bats from 
Cyprus, the species had not been recorded from any locality 
nearer home than S. Africa. The Zoological Society have for 
many years past had more or less of this species alive in the 
monkey-house in the Eegent's Park, where one or more young 
ones have been produced every year since 1870. I have a pair 
of these animals at Lilford ; they are very tame, exceedingly 
cleanly in their habits, and seem to thrive upon almost any sort 
of fruit, Avith a decided preference for dates, bananas, grapes, 
and cherries. 

Dysoprs RiippeUi, Temm. — The only specimen of this very 
curious species that 1 have ever seen alive was brought to me in 


Seville, in April, 1872, by a man who said that he found it 
clinging to the old brickwork of an aqueduct just outside the city 
wall on the road to Alcala de Guadaira. I have received speci- 
mens from Genoa, and have reason to believe that it is by no 
means very uncommon in many parts of Italy and Sicily. I 
found it in the Museum of Palermo, and was informed that it 
was not rare in that neighbourhood. 

Rhinolophusferriim-equinnm, Bonap. Faun. Ital. — I procured 
a few of this species alive from some sea-caves near Syracuse, in 
the spring of 1874. It is common in most parts of Italy, and, 
as far as my own observation goes, prefers caves or buildings to 
hollow trees. In England it is by no means abundant. In Spain 
it is extremely local, and not very common. 

lihinolophus eitryale, Blasius. — This species, intermediate in 
size between the Greater and Lesser Horse-shoe Bats, I met with 
in Andalusia in tolerable abundance, and procured many speci- 
mens in Sicily from small caverns and fissures in ancient 
quarries. The fur of this species is of a lighter colour than 
that of either of the other two European Horse-shoe Bats, and 
lacks the rufous tinge which is generally to be observed in those 

Rhinolophus bihastatus, Desm.* — I have received specimens of 
this Bat from South Devon, where I believe it to be much more 
common than is generally supposed. It abounds in Southern 
Spain, Sicily, and the neighbourhood of Algiers, in all which 
localities I have met with it hanging in clusters in caves and old 
buildings. The Horse-shoe Bats appear to be very savage and 
pugnacious, and other species are seldom to be met with in 
company with them. The flight of this genus is somewhat weak 
and fluttering, as compared with that of most European members 
of the order. 

Vespertilio noctula, Desm. — This species, the largest of our 
British Bats, is common in Northamptonshire, inhabiting the 
cavities of old ash, elm, and beech trees in colonies of from six 
to upwards of twenty. It flies high, often out of gunshot range, 
and is seldom to be seen on wing after the end of August. The 

* The Lesser Horse-shoe Bat. According to Dr. Dobson this should 
stand as Rhinolophus hijpposideros, Bechstein, Naturg. Deutschl. p. 1194 
(1801) ; Bhutolophus bihastatus, Geoffrey, Descript. de I'Egypte, li. p. 132 
(1812).— Ed. 


presence of these animals has often been betrayed to us by a 
constant twittering squeak issuing from holes in our old trees. 
I am inclined to think that many Woodpeckers, Starlings, and 
other hole-breeding birds are ousted from their homes by these 
Bats. In spite of many attempts I never could succeed in 
getting a Noctule to take food of any sort in a cage or box. 
I have found this Bat in every part of Spain that I have visited. 

Vespertilio murinus, Desm. — This Bat, whose claim to rank 
as a British species is, I believe, founded on the occurrence of a 
solitary individual in the precincts of the British Museum many 
years ago, is recorded as very common in France and Germany. 
The only living specimens that I have handled were one taken 
in a ruined house near Seville, and another brought to me, with 
some himdreds of another species, from a cave near Syracuse. 
A friend, whom I had asked to look out for Bats for me, wrote 
from Aix-les-Bains that he saw several thereabouts, " nearly as 
big as Woodcocks" ; and when I was subsequently at that place 
I saw two or three very large Bats that were certainly not 
Noctules, and must, I think, have belonged to this species ; 
unless this was the case, I cannot speak positively as to having 
seen this Bat on the wing. This animal is, in my opinion, one 
of the most repulsive in appearance and odour of the Bat 
family, being generally mangy in coat, and covered with para- 
sites, from which, indeed, few of the European Bats are ever 
completely free. 

Vespertilio Nattereri, Desm. — This species, though apparently 
very local, is by no means uncommon in the neighbourhood of 
Lilford ; as far as I have been able to ascertain it seldom hunts 
for food at more than a few hundred yards distance from its 
diurnal retreats, though it is a comparatively strong flyer. I 
shot one on wing many years ago on the road in the village of 
Achurch, and, though I then knew nothing about Bats, noticed 
that it was a very different animal from the three species that 
swarm around the house at Lilford in the summer evenings ; 
in 1870, when I began to collect Bats, I was told by our old 
fisherman, a native of Achurch, that whilst smoking his evening 
pipe at his cottage door he had often seen many Bats emerge 
from a crack in the stonework below the chimney of his nearest 
neighbour's abode ; I asked him to try and catch some of them, 
and he brought me some twenty of this species a day or two after 


making the announcement ; this was early in July, and a short 
time afterwards I received several more of the same species from 
under the roof of Pilton Church, which is a short quarter of a 
mile from Lilford. I tried in vain to keep some of these Bats 
alive, and sent two of them to the Eegent's Park Zoological 
Gardens ; but they all declined to feed, three or four of mine died, 
and were placed in spirits, and I liberated the survivors after a 
few days' captivity. I never met with Natterer's Bat anywhere 
but in the two localities above-mentioned ; it is said to occur in 
Belgium, Eastern France, Germany, and other parts of Central 
and Eastern Europe. 

Vespertilio serotinus, Desm. — Although I have never been able 
hitherto to obtain the Serotine in Northamptonshire, I feel 
certain that it occurs occasionally near Lilford ; but as its mode 
of flight, general coloration, and make, very much resemble those 
of the Noctule, to which species adult specimens approach in the 
extent of wings, it is of course impossible to speak positively 
without having handled and examined a freshly-killed specimen. 
I have received specimens of this Bat from Sussex and Hampshire, 
and found it to be common in various parts of France and Central 
Spain. The Serotine, as far as my own observation goes, appears 
addicted to hollow trees in preference to caves or buildings. I 
saw some fifty or more of this species in a cage at the Jardin des 
Plantes in 1867, and was assured that they had been taken from 
old trees in the neighbourhood of Paris by wood-cutters. In 
many parts of Eastern Germany this Bat appears to be common. 
It flies high, and is very fast on wing. 

Vespertilio Schreibersii, Desm. — Many of this species were 
brought to me alive from the caves and quarries near Syracuse 
in April, 1874, and I knocked one down with a carriage-whip as 
he flew in bright sunshine near the well-known Grotto del Cane, 
at a short distance from Naples. I also caught four specimens 
of this Bat with one of R. eurijalc in a dark chamber in 
Pompeii ; this latter animal was devoured by the others as they 
were carried in a handkerchief from the exhumed city to Torre 
del Annunziata, where our yacht was lying. This is one of the 
most common Bats in Southern Italy : I have also received it 
from Genoa, and it is abundant in Southern Spain, es^iecially in 
the neighbourhood of Seville. 

Vespertilio pipistrellus, Desm. — This little animal is the Com- 


men Bat of our islands, and abounds in Northamptonshire as in 
most parts of England with which I am acquainted. I have met 
with it in Spain, and I think in Italy, but to anyone but an 
expert it is difficult to discriminate this from the following species. 

Vespertilio Kiihlii, Temm. — Of this species I can only say that, 
if my identification is correct, I have found it not very abundantly 
in Spain, commonly in S. Italy, Sicily, and Corfu. I am in- 
formed that V. rispistrellus, Penn., V. alcythbc, and V. alho- 
limbatus, Bonaparte, are only synonyms for this species. 

VespertUo mi/stacinus, Desm. — The only living specimens of 
this Bat that I have ever seen were three or four brought to me 
from the belfry of Tichmarsh Church, Norths., in 1870, and one 
that 1 2)icked out of the Avon below the bridge at Christchurch, 
Hants, in 1873 ; the latter little animal was making a fairly 
strong swim of it against a moderate stream. This so-called 
Whiskered Bat is the darkest in colour of the British species 
with which I have any acquaintance. 

Plecotus auritiis, Geoflfroy. — The Long-eared Bat is exceed- 
ingly common in Northamptonshire, as in most parts of England, 
and may often be seen flying in broad daylight and sunshine, 
sometimes even in the depth of winter ; it seems especially to 
affect the roofs of summer-houses, porches, and cattle-sheds ; its 
presence in such localities is often betrayed by the wings of 
moths on the floor below its lurking-places. This is the only 
species of British Bat that I could ever succeed in keeping alive 
for any length of time ; the two or three with which I made the 
attempt fed greedily upon live house-flies and other small winged 
insects, taking them eagerly from our hands ; but they refuse 
mealworms, beetles, and every sort of raw meat. During the 
hybernation of these animals I frequently examined them very 
minutely, and could not detect any pulsation whatever, or the 
slightest stain on a small mirror applied close to the nostrils ; 
but they would slowly recover animation when exposed to a heat 
of about 75° Fahr., and eat ravenously as long as I had any flies 
to ofier them ; one of these Bats lived for more than two months 
in a state of complete torpor in a temperature varying from about 
40° to 60°, and eventually flew off on a warm morning in February, 
and commenced hawking for gnats on the sheltered side of the 
house as briskly as if it had been mid-summer. 

Barhastellus comiimnis, Bouap. -I found this curious-looking 


little animal in great abundance in a ruined monastery in 
Arragon, at the foot of the Pyrenees, in the summer of 1867, and 
in smaller numbers in a similar locality at Potes, in the Province 
of Santander, in 1876. I have also met with it in Switzerland. 
This Bat is generally supposed to be uncommon in England, but 
although I have at present no positive proof of the fact, I strongly 
suspect that it occurs about Lilford. It generally flies lower than 
any other Bat of my acquaintance, with a somewhat feeble and 
hesitating flight. 

In conclusion, I may mention that, besides the species 
mentioned above as occurring in our islands, I find that Lord 
Clermont (on the authority, as I suppose, of Thomas Bell, 'Brit. 
Quad.') admits six other species, viz., V. Bechsteinii, Desm., V. 
Leisleii, Desm., V. discolor, Desm., V. Daubentonii, Desm., V. 
emarginatus, Desm., and Plecotus hrevimanus, Bonap.* ; but the 
simple truth is that very few English zoologists have studied, or 
at all events published the results of their studies of our Bats, 
and if my meagre remarks should induce any of your readers to 
turn their attention to this subject, I will hope that we may 
shortly have the benefit of "more light." 



Young Otters in August.- -On the Idth August last I had two young 
Otters sent nie by a friend, who had taken them the previous evening. 
They were interesting on account of their very tender age, for I should 
think they were not more than a day old, if so much. A gamekeeper said 
he was sure they had " seen dayliglit " only a few hours, which was an error 
of observation, as the little creatures were of course blind. The first thins 
that struck me was their diminutive size, as they certainly were no larger 
than an ordinary kitten at the time of birth ; in fact, I think I have seen 
very young kittens larger and more robust than these tiny Otters wei'e, but 
their webbed feet and thick tail were characteristics not to be overlooked 

■■'■ Plecotus brevimanus, Jeuyns, is now generally admitted to be merely 
the 3'Oiing of Plecotus auritiis, Liuna;us. The nomenclature here adopted 
from Lord Clermont's ' Guide to the Quadrupeds and Iteptiles of Europe' 
(1859) stands in need of considerable revision, and cannot be regarded as 
axtthoritative at the present day. — Ed. 


They were of an uniform grey colour, and in this respect very unlike older 
individuals. They were deposited underneath some planks forming part 
of the floor of a boat-house, to which the female gained entrance by 
burrowing under the water into the bank, and then working upwards, as 
I believe is their usual wont. There was but little semblance of a nest, 
only a few green water-weeds having been collected together, and upon 
these the infants were reposing with their parent, who stoutly refused to 
leave her tender charge, and with a maternal courage which certainly 
deserved a better fate forfeited her life in their defence. Is August the 
usual time for young Otters, and are there usually two at a birth? 
[Young Otters have been found in almost every montli of the year. — Ed.] 
My friend informed me that indications of the presence of Otters near the 
boat-house — by partly devoured fish — were abundantly evident for a long time 
previous to the capture of the above; and it is gratifying to all who take 
an interest in our comparatively few British wild quadrupeds tliat Otters 
are far from rare about the Hampshire Avon, and they naturally frequent 
those parts of the river where fish-preservation offers them the best chance 
of livelihood with the least amount of labour. I was not aware of the fact 
that Otters will kill and devour Wild Ducks when in the "flapper" state. 
Is it well known? — G. B. Corbin (Ringwood). [We have heeard on good 
authority of their lulling and eeting Moorhens and also Water-rats. — Ed.] 
Weasels killing Moles. — Apropos of the question whether Stoats and 
Weasels kill Moles (Zool. 1886, p. 450), I came upon the following note in 
* The B'ield ' of May 1st, 1886, .which may perhaps be worth reprinting as 
bearing on the question. Mr. H. H. Simpson, of Bowdon, Cheshire, 
writes: — "In 'The Field' of April 24th a correspondent mentions the 
capture of a Weasel in a mole-trap, and asks whether it is a common thing 
for Weasels to hunt Moles. As there seems to be some doubt whether 
Weasels actually prey upon Moles or not, I may mention that I saw a 
Weasel run across the road near here carrying a Mole in its mouth, 
apparently with the greatest ease, for its head was held up high, and the 
Mole was quite clear of the ground. The Weasel with its burden dis- 
appeared down a hole, where it is reasonable to suppose that the Mole 
would be made a meal of." Another instance of a Weasel having been 
seen in the act of carrying a Mole was previously recorded in the same 
paper, July 9tb, 1881. In this case the Mole was picked up by the person 
who witnessed the occurrence, and who shot the Weasel and had both 
animals stuffed. On the 7th May last my brother told me that he 
had a few days before found a young Weasel in a large mole-hill in 
some marshes at Leiston. It was apparently only just born, and he thinks 
it must have been the first of a litter, and that the mother, disturbed by his 
dog, probably escaped through some of the holes or runs of the Mole. — 
G. T. liuPK (Bia.vball, Suffolk). 


Bats in Winter. — It is not uncommon on mild sunny days in winter 
to see the Pipistrelle, Vespertiiio pipistrellus, flying about during mid-day; 
but until the 2nd January inst., in Surrey, I never saw one out with the 
ground covered with snow and the thermometer at the time below freezing- 
point. There was a bright sun shining at the time, about noon, and I only 
saw the Bat fly round some three or four times. — L. H. Irby (Wadenhoe, 

Dormouse in a Woodpecker's Nest. — On the 25th June last I was 
surprised to find a Dormouse's nest in an old Woodpecker's hole in an oak. 
I had examined the hole not long before and found nothing in it, and when 
I saw pieces of dry grass I thought a Starling had taken possession ; but 
on my poking with a bit of wire the two Dormice came out and ran up the 
trunk at a great pace. 1 often find their nests here in bushes, — F. H. 
BiRLEV (Dorman's Land, East Grinstead). 


The Mediterranean Black-headed Gull on the Norfolk Coast.— Ou 
the 26th December last an adult specimen of Larus melanocephulus, a male 
by dissection, was shot on Breydon Harbour, near Yarmouth, and wus 
brought to me about an hour afterwards. At first JI did notj recognise 
the species, but its white wings, with only the outer primary edged 
with black, its deep umber-brown legs and feet, and stout bill, con- 
vinced me that I had a rarity. On consulting the fourth edition of 
Yarrell's 'British Birds,' Mr. Howard Saunders' excellent description 
(vol. iii. p. 605) showed me that the specimen in question was the ^Jediter- 
ranean Black-headed Gull. It was examined in the flesh by Mr. J. H. 
Gurney, jun., Mr. Thomas Southwell, and Major Feildeu. I believe that 
this is the first proprely authenticated specimen which has been procured 
ill Great Britain, and I am glad that such an addition to the British 
Avifauna should have occurred in this county. — Geokge Smith (Great 

[This bird was exhibited by Mr Howard Saunders at a meeting of the 
Zoological Society on ihe 18th Januaiy last. — Ed.] 

Lesser Redpoll nesting in Surrey. — On the 20th May, about two 
mi'es from lieigate, I came across two pairs of Lesser Redpolls in a clump 
of willows Tliey were much agitated, and soon betrayed the cause of their 
distress by clustering to a nest which contained one egg. It was placed in 
the fork of a willow about six feet fr^m the ground. I think ther are not 
many recorded instances of these birds breeding in Surrey. — F. H. Birley 
(Dorman's Land, East Grinstead). 

Variety of the Wild Duck. — On December 10th I shot a pretty 
and curious variety of tlie Wild Duck, Anas boscas, from a pond in the 


park here. The bird was a male, and had been seen about the park for 
several days, in company with two ducks of the natural colour. It had 
the crown and a large patch on each side of the head of the usual colour ; 
the rest of the head and neck white. The dark brown band on the upper 
part of the breast was absent, the ordinary grey colour of the under parts 
extending to the neck ; belly, yellowish white ; back, tail, and under tail- 
coverts of the usual colour ; a few white feathers in the upper tail-coverts ; 
wings white, with the exception of a few feathers in one of them. — G. H. 
Caton Haigh (Grainsby Hall, Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire). 

Waxwing in Aberdeenshire, — -In a small garden near the Luraphanan 
Railway Station, during the last fortnight in December, a solitary Waxwing 
was seen daily. It was very tame, suffering an approach within a few yards, 
and when scared did not fly far. It was feeding voracious' y on the red 
berries of the Cotoneaster. — George Brown (Elsick House, by Stone- 
haven, Kincardineshire). 

[The appearance of this occasional winter visitor is most uncertain and 
irregular. Sometimes we hear of flocks arriving, sometimes a winter will 
pass without one being seen or at least reported. The last we heard of 
was seen at Hickling in January, 1884, as recorded in ' The Zoologist' for 
1885, p. 55.— Ed.] 

Blue-throat in Norfolk— Correction of Error.— Allow me to correct 
a statement in 'The Zoologist' for 1886. The Blue-throated Warbler 
recorded, at p. 160, by Mr. J. H. Gurnev, jun., as having been shot by 
Mr. G. Hunt on the Horsey sand-hills on Sept. -^Sth, 1885, was only a 
female Redstart. It was, moreover, on the Winterton sand-hills where 
Mr. Hunt " wiped my eye" at this bird ; we were both labbit-shooting and 
on the look out for Blue-throats, when the "fire-tail" of this bird when 
rising attracted my notice. Mr. Hunt shot a Black Redstart at West 
Somm-ton in October, 1885, and on the 19th December, 1886, a female or 
immature male Black Redstart came into Mr. Bonner's greenhouse at East 
Rudham, where it continued for two or three days until allowed to go 
fiee. — Maukick C. H. Bird (West Rudham, Norfolk). 

Harlequin Duck on the Northumbrian Coast.— On December 6th 
I received in the flesh and in a perfectly fresh condition a Harlequin 
Duck, shot on Deo. ^nd off the coast of Northumberland, near the Fame 
Islands. The correspondent who kindly sent it to me tells me he never met 
with such a bird before, and that there were three swimming together close 
to the islands. He shot them all, but only succeeded in getting two of 
them. Probably the wounded bird became the prey of some large gull. 
My specimen is a young male, and probably a bird of the previous year, as 
the white patch of feathers near the carpal joint of each wing, the pure 
white spot behind the eye, tlie stripe on the neck, and the chestnut 


colouring on the sides are all clearly defined ; there are many blue feathers 
among the brown on the back, and one of the scapulars on the right side 
has a broad white mark ; the breast and underparts are mottled all over with 
pale brown and dingy white, much like those of a female Pintail. The 
eyes were brown, the beak lead-colour; the legs and feet yellowish brown, 
without the least tinge of blue. I believe the legs and feet of the Long- 
tailed Duck, which species has been most frequently mistaken for the Har- 
lequin, are greyish blue in both sexes, and at all ages. The bird was in 
very good condition. It seems difficult to account for a bird wbich breeds 
not uncommonly in Iceland being so rare a visitor to Britain. — Juman 
Tuck (St. Mary's, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent). 

Birds observed in North Devon.— A fine Buzzard was brought into 
Ilfracombe about the middle of August, having been trapped on the borders 
of Exmoor, and I heard that both this bird and the Raven (of which I saw 
recently stuffed examples) were still found in some numbers in that district. 
On the 16th, when on the Little Hangman, I saw half-a-dozen Choughs 
flying round the cliff below me. Walking up the East Lynn from the sea 
to Watersmeet I counted upwards of a dozen Grey Wagtails, but not one 
with a black throat ; of Dippers I only saw two. The Wood Wren seemed 
common, especially in the oak woods at Clovelly. Stock Doves haunted 
the cliff's to the west of Ilfracombe, and probably bred in some likely looking 
holes and fissures. The only waders I came across were four Turnstones 
and a large kock of Curlews at Braunton Burrows on the 21st, and a 
Common Sandpiper at Barnstaple on the 19th ; many, however, passed over 
on several nights, and I recognised Whimbrels, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, 
and Common Sandpipers. I met with the Cormorant on three occasions; 
in each case a single bird and at widely distant localities. An adult Gannet 
came in sight on the morning of the 15th, but I did not see another. When 
off Mortehoe one morning we passed a large tlock of Gulls fishing, chiefly 
Kiltiwakes, with a few Herring Gulls and Lesser Blackbacks, the only 
occasion on which I saw any number together. — Olivek V. x\plin (Great 
Bourton, near Banbury). 

Scarcity of Fieldfares. — My experience upon the east coast last 
autumn recalls to my mind a note by xMr. J. Young (Zool. 1881 pp. 228), 
wherein he relates that during the winter of 1883-4, being in different 
parts of the counties of Monmouth, Gloucester, Wilts, Berks and Kent, he 
never saw a Fieldfare or Redwing ; during the same period they were plen- 
tiful in North Oxon (Zool. 1884, p. 339). When I left home on November 
15th last. Fieldfares and Redwings were here in numbers, and I noticed 
them from the train all up the Nene Valley as tar as Peterborough. In two 
days, at Freistou Shore, Lincolnshire, the only Fieldfares noticed were a 
few which were heard flying over head after dark, and which may have been 


on migration, and during three weeks (Nov. I8th to Dec. 8th) spent in dif- 
ferent parts of Norfolk — north and south — I did not see a single bird. In 
Lincolnshire I saw no Redwings, and in Norfolk only two or three 
on Nov. 19th, and a soliitary bird just over the Suffolk boundary a fortnight 
later. On returning to Oxon I found both species abundant, and though 
their numbers have diminished with the severe weather they have 
remained up to the time of writing. Perhaps the big hawthorn hedges 
of Oxon and North Hants are the attraction in these counties. — Oliver 
V. Aplin (Great Bourton, near Banbury). 

Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Crake in Shetland. — A specimen of 
this bird (Triivja subarquata) was shot by Andrew John Garriock on the 
lltli August last, in a meadow on Tingwall parish. It was in company 
with several snipe, feeding among the high grass, and seemed very shy and 
uneasy in its movements. The only recorded instance of the previous 
occurrence of this species in Shetland is by Dr. Sa.\by, who states that 
" one was brought to him by a fisherman in the Island of Unst, on June 
7th, 1859." I have also a Spotted Crake [Crex porzana) shot by the same 
person in the Island of Bressay, on October 7th last. So far as I know 
this is the first instance on record of its occurrence in Shetland. I have 
both birds now in my collection. — J. T. Garriock (Lerwick). 

Reported Occurrence of the Citril Finch near Brighton.— In 'The 
Zoologist ' for December last (p. 490), Mr. Herbert Langton reported the 
capture of the Citril Finch, FringiUa citrinella, near the race-course 
at Brighton on the previous 14th October. A little correspondence on the 
subject has resulted in Mr. Swaysland of Brighton bringing the bird to 
London for inspection ; and on submitting it to Mr. Sharpe, of the 
Natural History Museum, South Kensington, who has paid a good deal of 
attention to Finches, he pronounced it to be not the Citril Finch, but the 
Cape Canary, Scrhnts canicolUs. At first glance the two species are not 
very unlike, and might be easily confounded in the absence of specimens 
for comparison. In fact, both these birds as, well as the wild Canary, 
Serinus canaria, or the Serin, Serinus hortulanus, have such a general 
resemblance in size and colour that it requires a practised eye to discrimi- 
nate them offhand. As all four have been reported to have been taken in 
England at different times, and may be again referred to as occasional 
visitants, it may be well to note briefly some of their distinguishing 
characters. The Cape Canary, Serinus canirolUs, a common cage-bird, 
has a bill like the Greenfinch, F. chloris, but smaller ; the forehead and 
chin greenish yellow ; nape and sides of neck grey ; dorsal plumage 
greenish yellow; the outer web of all the wing-feathers strongly marked 
with the same colour. The Citril Finch, F. citrinella, in general coloration 
bears a close reseuiblance to this species, having hke it a yellow forehead, 


chin, and underparts (though of a greener tinge), and a grey nape. But 
the dorsal plumage is of a greyer tone, and the wing-feathers not margined 
so vividly with yellow. The shape of the bill also is very different, being 
more Hke that of the Goldfinch {Cardnelis). The Wild Canary, Sorinus 
canaria, with a bill like canicolUs, has none of the bright greenish yellow 
uniformly distributed over the dorsal plumage (except on the upper tail- 
coverts), and is of a much greyer tone, each feather with a darker centre ; 
while the smallest of the four, the Serin, Serinus hortulanus, with the 
shortest and thickest bill of all (in proportion to its size), is at once 
recognizable by tbe great amount of striation on the flanks, us well as on 
the back and scapulars. As to whether the specimen of Serinus canicoUis 
recently procured at Brighton was anything but an escaped cage-bird (as 
seems probable), opinions will doubtless differ; but it may be remarked 
that the plumage was in excellent order, and showed no traces of con- 
finement. — J. E. Harting. 

Additions to the Avifauna of the Fseroe Islands.— At page 487 of 
' The Zoologist,' 1886, I have recorded, at second-hand, the capture of the 
Little Tern, Sterna minuta, in the Fseroe Islands. Since then Herr H. C. 
Miiller, of Thorshavn, has been kind enough to send me the specimen 
alluded to, and I find that it is an immature example of Hydrochelidon 
nigra, the Black Tern, so that the occurrence of Sterna minuta will have 
to be expunged, but the Black Tern is an equally interesting addition ; 
this specimen was obtained on the island of Nalsae in the month of 
September, 1886. Herr MuUer has Hkewise sent me specimens of Lams 
minutus, the Little Gull, obtained in the island of Nalsae on February 11th, 
1886, and an example of Upupa epops, the Hoopoe, which was shot near 
Thorshavn on the 12th October, 1885 ; both additions to the Faeroese 
list.— H. W, Feilden (West House, Wells, Norfolk). 

Birds which Sing or Call at Night. — Mr. Flemyng's interesting 
note headed " Birds which Sing at Night " (Zool. 1886, p. 486), recalls the 
following circumstance. On March 10th, 1884, a fine bright night 
just before the full moon, and about the hour of midnight, I heard the fol- 
lowing birds almost simultaneously : Song Thrush, Partridge, Redshank 
and Waterhen. Owing to the ignorance and destructive tendencies of 
gamekeepers, Owls have, I regret to say, become very scarce here, and in 
the early spring by far the noisiest bird we have at night is the Waterhen, 
whose strange nocturnal habit of leaving its usual haunts, and visiting 
places where one would least expect it to turn up, has given rise at times to 
various conjectures as to the origin of certain mysterious sounds heard in 
the dark, and 1 have more than once been startled by suddenly hearing 
overhead the loud harsh cry of this night wanderer in the most unlikely 
spots. The Norfolk Plover or Stone Curlew, CEdicneinus crepitans, though 
ZOOLOGIST. — i'EB. 1887. G 


hardly a night " singer," keeps up while at its feeding-grounds (often a field 
of young turnips) an almost continuous screeching through the hours of 
darkness. Much bird music of the most attractive and interesting kind is 
probably unknown to a great proportion of mankind. The mighty rush of 
a large flock of Wigeon, for instance, heard on a still, frosty winter's night, 
is a sound which once heard is not easily forgotten. The well-trained ear of 
the flight-shooter at his post on the lonely marshes, becomes aware of a 
faint and indescribable, but all pervading, rushing sound, which seems to 
come from any or every direction ; nearer and nearer it approaches, and 
again, perhaps, fades away into the distance, as tlie birds turn off' in 
another direction ; suddenly back they come, with the rush of a whirlwind, 
and the beautiful whistle, " whee-ou," of the mates (before blended with, 
and scarcely distinguishable from the sound of a multitude of wings), is 
heard again and again as the flock sweeps close overhead and again disap- 
pears into the darkness. But who has not enjoyed listening to the voices 
of our more familiar birds on a fine still evening in early spring, conveying 
to the ear, as surely do the swelling buds to the eye, unmistakable and ever 
welcome tidings and evidence of the gradual approach of the season when 
" the flowers appear on the earth, the time for the singing of birds has 
come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land." The distant note 
of the wheeling Peewits on their return to their nesting-ground ; nearer as 
hand, perhaps, the jubilant evensong of the Thrush; the weird chattering 
and plaintive whistle of the Starlings on the topmost twigs of the tall elms, 
wonderful in variety and execution ; the occasional note of deep solemn 
bass from the frogs in the nearest pool or ditch : and above all the fine 
loud burst of melody from the throat of the Blackbird, surely unsurpassed 
(as far as quality of tone is concerned) by the Nightingale itself, and in 
whose pure liquid notes the voice of the springtide itself seems to make 
itself heard. Such music fully compensates us for the annual loss of a few 
cherries and currants, and makes one wish that " collectors " and birds'- 
nesters were less abundant.— G. T. Rope fBla.vhall, Suffolk). 

Varieties of the Brambling.— In 'The Zoologist' for 1885 (pp. 346, 
389) were some notes on black-chinned Bramblings. Two of these birds, 
both having ivhite chins, have occurred at Yarnioulh — one about tlie 12th 
October, 188Q, the other on the 3rd February, 1886. They both proved to 
bo males, and present no variation in their plumage. This absence of 
colouring seems equally curious with the excess of it in those vigorous 
examples which have the chin and throat black. Both the birds were 
obtained by Mr. G. Smith. Although the extent of white is small, it is 
quite pure. Most birds seem more liable to be pied on the head than 
elsewhere, and in young Rooks a few white feathers on the chin are not 
unubual, as pointed out by Mr. R. M. Christy (Zool. 18S0, p. 339j, and 1 have 


seen it accompanied by white nasal bristles, the rest of the plumage being 
of the ordinary colour. The Goldfinch also has a white chin sometimes, 
and is then called a "cheverel." Prof. Newton has some interesting 
observations on the origin of the name (Yarrell's ' British Birds,' 4th ed., 
vol.ii. p. 124) : he states that the extent of white varies greatly in different 
examples which he has examined. " Cheverels" in confinement are stated 
to breed " cheverels."— J. H. Gurney, Jun. (Northrepps, Norwich). 

Grey Phalaropes in Ireland. -The appearance of so many of these 
birds near St. Leonard's last October, as noted in ' The Zoologist ' for 
January (p. 28), leads me to mention that Mr. Rohu told me on Oct. 90th 
last he had received a specimen from Mitchelstown, an inland locality ; and 
on November 9th he mentioned that he had received another from Castle- 
townsend, on the West coast of Cork. On November 18th I received a 
Grey Phalarope from Mr. Higginbotham, Dungarvan Lighthouse. Two 
others are doubtfully reported from Kingstown on October 3rd, not havnig 
been obtained. I believe the capture of the Red-necked Phalarope in 
Ireland has never yet been announced.- R. J. Usshkr (Cappagh, Co. 

Bittern in Norfolk.— I beg to correct an error which appeared in 
' The Zoologist ' for December last. Mr. Gunn, in his " Notes from Norfolk 
and Suffolk/' says I killed a Bittern at Aylsham on January J 9th, 1885. 
It occurred at Foulsham, about twelve miles west of this place. As the 
visits of the Bittern are now unfortunately rare, it is well to be accurate 
with such notes. Part of ray property in Aylsham lies in the valley watered 
by a small tributary of the Bure, and I should not like to have destroyed a 
Bittern so near the old breeding-grounds of the species, which if properly 
protected would now adorn its marshy solitudes. The bird in question was 
standing by the side of a pit near the middle of a grazing-ground, and 
allowed°me and my son to approach within twenty-five yards. I did not 
fire; it Hew slowly over the first fence, under which it alighted, and we 
held a consultation about killing it. Being in a dangerous locality, and 
I thought possibly wounded, I decided to shoot it.— R. J. W. Pordy 
(Woodgate, Aylsham). 

Rare Birds in Ireland. — Tbe following occurrences may be worth 
recording in ' The Zoologist.' Great Shearwater (Puffinus major), received 
on August lath from Go. Sligo : the plumage being full of sand, and the 
bird m'uch wasted, it had evidently been picked up dead on the sea shore. 
Spotted Redshank {Totanas fuscus), received Sept. ^Tth, having been shot 
near Sallins, Kildare : an immature bird of the year, its breast mottled 
with grey. Great Snipe {Gallinago major), shot in the first week of 
October by Major Hutchinson, of Rookville, near Drumsna, Co. Leitrnn : 
this bird weighed eight ounces, and is the first genuine solitary snipe 


which in the course of twenty-five years has passed through our hands. 
Dotterel [Euclromias morinellus), two shot by Mr. St. George, near 
Clonniell, in September : one, an adult female, still shows the bare 
hatching spots, the other is an immature bird of the year. Great Spotted 
Woodpecker [Piciis major): on December 3rd, an adult male was sent to 
us from Kilkeel, Co. Down, by Dr. Evans, and was by him generously 
presented to the Science and Art Museum ; soon afterwards we received 
a female, which had been shot by Mr. Menzie's gamekeeper, in the woods 
of Glasslough, Co. Monaghan, the residence of Sir John Leslie. Sabine's 
Snipe (Scolopax sabini), one obtained on December 5th, in Kildare, by 
Mr. McSheehy, who has most liberally presented it to the Science and Art 
Museum. Another somewhat darker specimen we purchased in the 
Dublin market on December 27th. — Williams & Son (2, Dame Street, 

Estimated duration of life in an Albatross.— A curious incident is 
reported by the 'Hiogo News,' being communicated to it by Capt. Heard, 
of the British ship, the ' Duchess of Argyle.' When rounding Cape Horn, 
an immense Albatross was noticed following the ship. One day, as it 
hovered over the poop, it was noticed that an object about the size of a 
dollar was hanging round the bird's neck, and an attempt was at once made 
to catch it by means of a large hook baited by a piece of pork and allowed 
to drift astern. Several other Albatrosses were cauglit, but it was not 
until the third day that the one in question took the hook, wiiich fixed itself 
firmly in its beak. On the bird being dragged on board it was found that 
the object hanging from its neck was a brass pocket compass-case, fastened 
with three strands of stout copper wire round the bird's neck. Two of the 
wires had worn through, and the box was thickly covered with verdigris. 
On its being opened there was found written on a piece of paper in faded 
ink the following:—" Caught May 8th, 1848, in latitude 38-6 S., 40-14 W., 
by Ambrose Cochran, of American ship ' Columbus.' " A fresh label, with 
the old and new dates of capture, was fastened round the bird's neck, and it 
was then released. It was measured before being allowed to fly, and was 
found to be twelve feet two inches between the tips of its wings. As the 
bird was probably four or five years old before being captured the first time, 
the interesting fact is proved that the natural life of an Albatross is at least 
fifiy yt-ars. 

Purple Sandpiper in the Channel Islands. — It may be of interest 
to note the occurrence of the Purple Sandpiper, Tvuiija iiiaiitiina, in 
Jersey. 1 shot a bird of this species there on January 6th last, on 
the rocks at La Coupe, and on taking it to Mr. Caplin, taxidermist, was 
iiilonued that only two or three Purple Sandpipers from this island Jiad 
passed through his hands. This bird is not included either in Professor 


Ansted's list or in Mr. Cecil Smith's, ' Birds of Guernsey.' — J. Nicoll 
(Le Vivier, St. Martin's, Jersey). 

Moorhen nesting in a disused Punt. — Wliile shooting on Sutton 
Heath, near Woodbridge, Suffollt, on October l'2th, I noticed a curious 
spot for a Waterhen to build her nest ; she had placed it upon the bow end 
of a disused punt which was lying nearly full of water at the edge of a 
pond, in full view of everyone passing. I drew the attention of my friends 
who were shooting with me to it, and we thoroughly investigated the 
matter, Upon making enquiries of the gentleman farming the land he 
said that when the nest was built the punt was rather more concealed by 
overhanging boughs. — E. C. Moor (Great Bealings, Woodbridge, Suffolk). 



Januarij 20, 1887. — William Carruthers, F.R.S., President, in the 

Mr. John Benbow and Mr. Fiennes L. Y. Cornwallis were elected 
Fellows of the Society. 

The President announced that H.R.H. The Prince of Wales had 
officially entered his name as an Honorary member on the Roll of the 

An oil portrait of Francis Masson, F.L.S., who was elected 179(3, and 
made extensive collections of living plants in South Africa, was laid before 
the Fellows, and offered for their acceptance by the President. The 
announcement of this donation was received with acclamation. 

A letter was read from Mr. Benjamin T. Lowne, referring to an exhibi- 
tion by him of photographs from microscopical specimens of the retina of 
insects. One section represented the retinal layer detached from the 
opticon ; other sections showed the basillar layer ; thus practically affording 
evidence that the nerves terminate in end organs, t>jx., rods placed in groups 
beneath the opticon, — a view promulgated by Mr. Lowne in his memoir, 
" On the Compound Vision and the Morphology of the Eye in Insects." 
(new ser. Zool. vol. ii. pp. 389-420). 

Mr. J. W. Waller exhibited a large block of wood, part of an oak 
grown in Sussex. The wood having been sawn up lengthwise, it was found 
to contain along tunnel and a large living larva of the longicorn beetle, 
Prlonus coriarius. 

Dr. John Anderson communicated a paper by the Rev. Thomas 
Hincks, viz. : — " Report on Hydroida and Polyzoa from the Mergui 


Archipelago." The author states that though the material is moderate in 
amount, it nevertheless possesses interest in a fine mass of Nellia occulata. 
Busk (preserved in spirit), which proves rich in minute forms, both of 
Polyzoa and Hydroida. A new genus is described, provisionally ranked 
amongst the BicellariidcB, and probably nearly related to Bugula. Stegano- 
porella smithii is noted, the Mergai example being undoubtedly identical 
with the Cornish species. A variety of Smitt's Schizoporella spongites is 
described, forming a spreading crust, white and silvery, on stone. Buskia 
setigera, n. sp. is figured. The occurrence of a second species of Buskia has a 
positive interest as throwing further light on a peculiar kind of structure. 
Hitherto the genus has been represented by Buskia nitens. Alder, a smaller 
form than the present, which is not uncommon on the English coasts, and 
ranges from the Mediterranean to the extreme north (Davis Strait, Barents 
Sea, White Sea), and to the Queen Charlotte Islands in the North Pacific. 
B. setigera is comparatively large ; and from the suberect habit of the 
cell, the ventral aperture extending from tlie bottom (or nearly so) to the 
top, is more apparent and more readily studied. The solid or chitinous 
portion of the zocecium forms a kind of carapace closed in below by a 
membranous wall. The polypide stretches along the upper portions of the 
cell immediately beneath the chitinous shell, and issues at the top of the 
oral area. The structure, so far as it can be determined in spirit-specimens, 
is extremely simple ; there seems to be no trace of a gizzard. In the 
setose portion of the tentacular sheath there is an interesting peculiarity. 
The setae, before expanding, instead of being packed together so as to 
form a straight pencil, are seen to be subspirally arranged, some tending 
to one side, some to the other, and bear some resemblance to loosely 
twisted strands in a cord. As the tentacular corona moves upward and 
presses upon the base of the operculum, the setae disentangle themselves 
and expand into the usual funnel-shaped figure. The setae with the 
reversible portion of the sheath from which they rise equal the cell 
in length. The four setose appendages placed round the upper portion of 
the cell-margin form a very conspicuous and striking feature. When the 
polypide is exserted, they are thrown back and stand out from the cell ; 
when it withdraws they are brought together and project at the summit. 
The tubular adherent processes given off from the lower part of the cell 
correspond with the spines round the base of the zocecium in B. nitens. 
The cells are developed in large numbers on the creeping stem, and the 
habit of growth is luxuriant. 

Membraniporafavus, M. marginella, Lepralia robusta, Porella malleolus, 
with others, are among the new species fully entered into. Of Hydroids, 
Obelia andersoni and 0. bifurca are new to science, the latter probably 
allied to the bicuspidata, Clarke, known from the Thimble Islands, coast of 
New England. — J. Mubie. 

scientific societies. 79 

Zoological Society of London. 

December 21, 1886.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, 
in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to the 
Society's Menagerie during the month of November, 1886. 

Mr. Howard Saunders exhibited and made remarks on a specimen of a 
hybrid between the Tufted Duck and the Pochard, bred in Lancashire in 1886. 

Mr. J. Bland Sutton read a paper on Atavism, being a critical and 
systematic position of the Sponges. This was based on the recent researches 
on the Hexactmellida, TetractinelUda, and Monaxonida of the ' Challenger' 
Expedition, and on his own investigations on the rich Australian Sponge- 
fauna, particularly of the groups Calcarea, Chalinidm, and Horny Sponges. 
A complete system of Sponges was proposed, and worked out down to the 
families and subfamilies, and all the principal genera were mentioned. An 
approximately complete list of the literature of Sponges (comprising the 
titles of 1446 papers), a " key" to the determination of the forty-six families, 
and a discussion of the systematic position of the Sponges were also 
contained in the paper. 

Prof. Pi.ay Lankester communicatei a paper by Dr. A. Gibbs Bourne, of 
the Presidency College, Madras, on Indian Earthworms, containing an 
account of the Earthworms collected and observed by the author during 
excursions to the Nilg'ris and Shevaroy HiUs. Upwards of twenty new 
species were described. 

Jan. 18.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to the 
Society's Menagerie during the month of December, 1886, and called 
attention to a young male of the true Zebra, Equus zebra, purchased 
December 11th ; and to a young male Indian Rhinoceros, presented by 
H.H. the Maharajah of Cooch Behar, through the kind intervention 
of Dr. B. Simpson, and received December 25th. 

Mr. F. W. Styan exhibited and made remarks on a series of Chinese 
Birds' eggs which he had collected at Kiukiang and Shanghai. 

Mr. Howard Saunders exhibited and read some notes on a skin of the 
Mediterranean Black-headed Gull, Larus melanocephalus, killed on 
Breydon Water, near Great Yarmouth, and sent for exhibition by Mr. G. 
Smith, of that town. This was stated to be the first absolutely authentic 
occurrence of this southern species on the British coasts. 

Mr. Sclater exhibited and made some remarks on an example of a rare 
Amazon Parrot, Chnjsotis bodini, from British Guina. 

Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier exhibited and made remarks on three heads of 
the Sumatran Rhinoceros, A. sumutrensis, from Sarawak, Borneo. 

Prof. Rupert Jones read a paper by himself, Messrs. H. B. Brady, and 


W. K. Parker, on the Foraminifera dredged up on the Abrolhos Bank by 
H.M.S. ' Plumper ' in 1857. The series contained examples of 1Q4 
species and notable varieties, and furnished results of definite value as 
regards the distribution of this group of animals. 

Prof. G. B. Howes, read a paper on the skeleton and affinities of the 
paired fins of Ceratodus, and added observations upon the corresponding 
organs of the Elasmobranchii and other fishes. 

A communication was read from Prof. T. Jeffrey Parker, of the 
University of Otago, New Zealand, containing an account of the anatomy 
of Rondelet's Shark, Carcharodon rondeletii. 

A communication was read from the Rev. N. Abraham, containing an 
account of the habits of the Trapdoor Spider of Graham's Town, 
Moggridgia dyeri. 

A communication was read from Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, containing notes 
on the visceral anatomy of certain Auks. 

Mr. P. L. Sclater pointed out the characters of eight new species of 
birds of the family Tyrannidse. 

Mr. Sclater also described a new Ant-Thrush of the genus Grallaria 
from Ecuador, for which he proposed the name Grallaria duboisi. 

Entomological Society of London. 

Fifty-fourth Anniversary Meeting, January 19, 1887. — Robeet 
M'Lachlan, Esq., F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

An Abstract of the Treasurer's Accounts, showing a large Balance in 
the Society's favour, was read by Mr. Stainton, one of the Auditors; and 
the Secretary read the Report of tlie Council. 

The following gentlemen were elected as Officers and Council for 
18S7:— President, Dr. David Sharp, F.Z.S. ; Trertsitra-, Mr. Edward 
Saunders, F.L.S. ; Secretaries, Mr. Herbert Goss, F.L.S., and the Rev. 
W. W. Fowler, M.A., F.L.S. ; Librarian, Mr. Ferdinand Grut, F.L.S. : 
and as other Members of Council, Messrs. Robert M'Lachlan, F.R S. ; 
Gervase Mathew, R.N., F.L.S.: George T. Porritt, F.L.S. ; Edward B. 
Poulton, M.A., F.G.S. ; Osbert Salvin, M.A., F.R.S. ; Henry T. Stainton, 
F.R.S. ; Samuel Stevens, F.L.S.; and J. Jenner Weir, F.L.S., F.Z.S. 

The retiring President delivered an address, for which a vote of thanks 
to him was moved by Mr. E. B. Poulton, seconded by Prof. Meldola, and 
carried unanimousl}'. 

A vote of thanks to the Treasurer, Secretaries, and Librarian was moved 
by Mr. M'Lachlan, seconded by Mr. Stainton, and carried; and Mr. Goss 
and Mr. Grut replied. 

A vote of thanks to the Council was proposed by Mr. Waterhouse, 
seconded by Mr. White, and carried. — H. Goss, Hon. Sec. 



Vol. XI.] MARCH, 1887. [No. 123. 


By Robert Sekyice. 

I HAVE long been aware, without thinking until lately that the 
fact had anj' special significance, that Ptarmigan used to be found 
on the higher summits of the range of hills that divides Kirkcud- 
brightshire and Dumfriesshire from the neighbouring counties of 
Ayr, Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk. It has often been a matter 
of surprise to me that the former existence of these birds in this 
south-west corner of Scotland was never alluded to, even inci- 
dentally, by writers on Scottish Ornithology, with the single 
exception of the late Sir William Jardine (' Game Birds,' 1834). 
In no other ornithological work that I am aware of is the occur- 
rence of Ptarmigan in these two counties mentioned, unless indeed 
Montagu's remark that " some few are yet to be found south of 
the Tweed" may be taken as applying here. But Montagu, who 
doubtless meant the statement to refer to Cumberland, was 
probably unaware, like a good many other Southrons, that a con- 
siderable and by no means unimportant portion of Scotland lies 
"south of the Tweed"! I had intended writing a note on the 
subject immediately after reading Mr. A. G. More's communication 
(Zool. 1881, p. 44), in which he endeavoured to show that the 
whole story of the former existence of Ptarmigan in Westmoreland 
and Cumberland was unreliable. Like other good resolutions, 
however, this intention of mine went out of mind until now, when 
in the course of beginning to take in hand the Ornithology of the 

Z00I>0GIST. MARCH, 1887. II 


Scottish Solvvay district, the matter of Ptarmigan again came 
under notice. Believing this hitherto ahnost overlooked subject 
to be of more than local interest, and looking to the important 
bearing it has on the former occurrence (disputed in the mean- 
time) of Ptarmigan in the English Lake district, I have deemed 
it advisable to lay the result of my enquiries before the readers 
of tliis journal. 

There are four localities in which the former existence of 
Ptarmigan can be traced, viz. — (1) The mountains of Minnj^gaff 
parish ; (2) the mountains in the parishes of Kells and Carsphairn ; 
(3) the district surmounted by the peak of the Lowtliers, on the 
dividing ridge betwixt Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire ; and (4) 
the district around Hartfell, at the head of Moffatdale. The first 
two localities are in Kirkcudbright, the last two are in Dumfries. 
These various localities are so nearly connected that I separate 
them only for the sake of treating the subject more clearly. 

Kirkcudbrightshire. Minnygaff. — The earliest notices of 
the Ptarmigan that I have been able to find in local literature are 
contained in Symson's ' Description of Galloway.' This work, 
written in 1G84 at the request of Sir Eobert Sibbald and forming 
part of the Sibbald MSS. deposited in the Advocate's Library in 
Edinburgh, was not printed until 1823. At page 79 there is an 
interesting paragraph, which I may be excused for quoting in 
full. Enumerating the natural productions of Galloway, Symson 
writes : — "As concerning animals I can say nothing save that in 
this countrey, consisting both of moors and valley grounds along 
the sea shore, we have such as are usualy found in the like 
places ; as in the moors we have plenty of moor-fowles, partridges, 
tarmakens, &c. In our hills and boggs, foxes, good store. Li 
our lochs and bourns, otters ; near the sea severall sorts of wild 
geese, wild ducks, ateales, small teales, seamaws, gormaws, and 
an other fowl, which I know not the name of; it is about the 
bigness of a pigeon; it is black, and hath a red bill. I have seen 
it haunting about the Kirk of Mochrum." The bird which 
Symson describes in the latter portion of the passage is of course 
the Chough, which may still (though rapidly decreasing) be seen 
about the locality named. Several old MSS. relating to Galloway 
are printed as appendices to Symson's work. One of these is 
entitled ' Description of Minnygaff,' and forms part of the Mac- 
farlane MSS., also in the Advocate's Library. This MS. appears 


to have been written in the earl}'^ part of last ceutuiy by Andrew 
Heron, of Bargaly, a famous botanist in his day. Heron {op. cit., 
p. 132), referring to the mountain of Meyrick, states : — 

"In the remote parts of this great mountain, are very large 
Eed Deer; and about the top thereof, that fine bird, called the 
Mountain Partridge, or, by the commonalty, the Tarmachan, 
about the size of a Eedcock, and its flesh much of the same 
nature : feeds, as that bird doth, on the seeds of the bullrush [?], 
and makes its protection in the chinks and hollow places of thick 
stones, from the insults of the eagles, which are in plenty, both 
the large gray and the black, about that mountain." Further on 
(p. 142), describing his own property of Bargaly, Heron says, 
" The land extends to Cairnsmure,* whereunto the greatest part 
of that mountain belongs, where there is good store of Bristol 
stone of divers colours, very well cutt naturally : very large Red- 
deer, with plenty of mountain partridges and other muirfowl." 
No one who has ever been on the Minnygaff Mountains can doubt 
their suitability as Ptarmigan-ground. The very name of tlie 
parish, which is from the Gaelic vionadh geodli, signifying " the 
mountainous expanse full of deep hollows and chasms," is 
thoroughly descriptive of its aspect. Within the parish there 
are twelve peaks from 1500 to 2000 feet in height, and no less 
than ten peaks ranging from 2000 up to 2764 (Meyrick). There 
can be no doubt, from the number of people to be met with who 
have heard their forbears speak of Ptarmigan, that these birds 
were in former times comparatively abundant in the parish. I 
may name two individuals entitled to every credit, and their 
statements correspond with those of many others who might be 
cited if necessary. Mr. Erskine, gunsmith and game-dealer in 
Newton Stewart, who has been connected with guns, game, and 
gamekeepers all his life, as were his father and grandfather before 
him, says he well remembers hearing his grandfather, William 
Erskine, who died in 1820, tell of shooting Ptarmigan on Meyrick 
and other hills in Minnygaff. Mr. Thomas Galbraith, retired 
gamekeeper in Newton Stewart, who has been following his pro- 
fession over these hills since 1827, informs me that no Ptarmigan 
have been seen in his time, but that he had known older keepers 
who had shot them; and that all the older keepers and shepherds 

* Cairnsmore of Fleet, not Cairnsmore of Carsphami, hereafter mentioned 
in this article. — R. S. 


then in the district when he began used to tell him of the former 
existence of Ptarmigan on the hill-tops, and regret their dis- 
appearance. In Harper's 'Rambles in Galloway' (p. 150) it is 
recorded that the last Ptarmigan shot in Gallowaj'^ was killed on 
the Dungeon o' Buchan in 1820 by one of the Earl of Galloway's 
keepers. I have been told that this very bird was preserved by 
the then factor on the estate, but have been unable to verify the 
information. In the 'New Statistical Account' (Parish of Minny- 
gaff, p. 120, 1842) it is stated that Ptarmigan Avere formerly 
common there, but had at that date disappeared. I think 1820 
may be taken as the date of their extinction in the parish. 

Kells and Carsphairn. — In these two parishes, the former of 
which marches with Minnygaff, traditions of the former existence 
of Ptarmigan abound, almost every elderly native being able to 
say that he had heard his father talk of the birds. In the ' Old 
Statistical Account' (Parish of Kells, vol. iv., p. 263, 1792) the 
Bev. John Gillespie states that Ptarmigan were at that time to be 
found on the high hills of Kells. The highest peak in the two 
parishes is Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, and here the birds seem to 
have been found until about 1818. Mr. Kennedy, of Knock- 
nailing, in reply to my question, states that he had been informed 
by old Mr. M'Millan, tenant in Viewfield, that he had shot 
Ptarmigan on Cairnsmore in the winter of 1817-18, and sent 
them to Mr. Oswald, of Auchencruive. That winter Mr. M'Millan 
said was unusually severe, the snow lying far into the spring (a 
circumstance verified by local records), and that Ptarmigan were 
never afterwards seen or heard of in that district. Mr. Hastings, 
the well-known taxidermist in Dumfries, tells me that in 1835 
(he is tolerably certain of the year) he was on Cairnsmore, and 
being anxious to ascertain if it was probable that any Ptarmigan 
were still on the mountain, he made some enquiries of the 
residents, and leai'nt from William Johnstone, a shepherd, who 
then lived at Burnfoot, of Carsphairn, that he had known the 
Ptarmigan all his life on the top of Cairnsmore ; but they 
gradually dwindled awaj', and he had not seen a single bird 
during the previous fourteen or fifteen years. The shepherd was 
then apparently a man of over sixtj'^ years of age, and Mr. 
Hastings says he was greatly diverted at the time with the deep 
guttural and sonorous tone with whicli the shepherd uttered the 
word torrmachaii — a rather remarkable confirmation of Heron of 


Bargaly's somewhat supercilious reference to " the couimonalty " 
and their name for the bird ! 

In the 'New Statistical Account ' (Kells Parish, 1844, p. 110) 
it is stated, "Ptarmigan are extinct"; and again {op.cit., Cars- 
phairn Parish, 18.14, p. 275), we find that "it is commonly said 
that the last place in the South of Scotland which the Ptarmigan 
frequented was Cairnsmuir. They have for some time, however, 
been completely destroyed or banished." 

Dumfriesshire. The Lowthers and District. — On the Dum- 
friesshire side of the Nith, traditions relating to Ptarmigan are by 
no means so rife as in the Stewartry. I have not been able to 
ascertain anything at all definite in the way of traditionary record. 
It is pretty certain that the bulk of the stock of birds must have 
gone much sooner than those in Galloway, leaving only a few 
stragglers to linger into the present century. In the course of 
quest for information on this subject it occurred to me to search 
the old files of the local newspaper, the ' Dumfries and Galloway 
Courier,' and I was very kindly permitted to do this by the 
courtesy of the proprietor. I was aware that the late Mr. John 
M'Diarmid, who was for about fifty years the editor, was inti- 
mately acquainted with the denizens of all our mountains and 
glens, and a naturalist of repute, as is abundantly testified by his 
published ' Sketches from Nature,' and the constant references 
made to the standard authors of that day, such as Pennant, 
Latham, Lewin, Montagu, Willughby, Heysham, and Bewick, 
when recording ornithological occurrences in the ' Courier.' I 
mention these matters because had the late Mr. M'Diarmid been 
an ordinary newspaper editor (I use the term with due reverence 
for the Fourth Estate !) the paragraphs given below would not 
have been entitled to any particular credence in a matter of this 
kind. The first notice of Ptarmigan is in the 'Courier' for 
August 26th, 1823, and I quote the entire paragraph: — 

" Natural History. — We have just seen and examined a very 
beautiful bird, shot by Mr. Murray, of Broughton, on the 18th 
current, and which appears to be quite a nondescript in ornith- 
ology. The following is a correct description : — In size, form, 
and weight, the same as a well grown grouse, with the roughness 
of the feet and claws, and red fleshy ring above the eye, that 
belong to that species. Plumage beautiful, and totally difi'erent. 
Colour of the back and breast, a light brown, tinged with yellow; 


uing-feathers unspotted, and of a dingy white or hlae colour. 
Tills curious bird is evidently neither a partridge, a grouse, or a 
ptarmigan, and yet it has several points of resemblance to all 
three ; and may peradventure be a cross betwixt either of them. 
But the Ptarmigan, which is white in winter and grey in summer, 
scarcely ever visits the low grounds; and indeed the general 
opinion is that this bird which lingered long about Cairnsmuir of 
Carsphairn, is now entirely rooted out of Gallowaj'. Of late years 
it has never been seen ; but the severit}'- of last winter brought 
many feathered fugitives to our doors ; and we knoio an individual 
in Sanquhar, who obtained, last season, no feiver than ten brace of 
Ptarmigan, which were eagerly purchased by stuffers and persons 
curious in ornithology. Wolves, wild boars, and all those animals 
that fly before the march of civilization, and seem exorcised by 
the woodman's axe, can be easily spared, and are well out of the 
way ; but to us, ' the universal feathered people ' are so truly 
interesting, that we never wish to see a single bar in their 
escutcheon, or a twig severed from the beautiful family tree." 

There is a reference again to the same occurrence contained 
in the following notice of the capture of a Bittern, recorded in the 
•Courier' for February 21st, 1820:— 

" The bittern, or miredrura, is so seldom met with in the south 
of Scotland that it was supposed by many to be totally unknown, 
but although the extension of tillage and other causes have com- 
pelled this and other bipeds to return to wilds 'where things that 
own not man's dominion dwell,' the chapter of accidents or the 
severity of the weather is every now and then throwing a solitary 
specimen in the fowler's way. The tremendous snowstorms of 
1822 brought whole flocks of wild swans to our shores, and during 
the same i^eriod three or four brace of Ptarmigan rvere killed some- 
where above Sanquhar, although the opinion had become prevalent 
that not one of these birds existed among the highest hills of 
Dumfriesshire and Galloway. Some of the ptarmigans were sent 
to our townsman, Mr. Shanks, to be stuff"ed, and we have just 
been informed that Mr. John Lewars has a brace of voun« 
ptarmigans alive and so tame that they run about the doors like 
domestic fowls. These birds tvere brought, we understand, from 
the English side, and ivere probably hatched on the top of Skiddaw. 
But our object in lifting the pen at present is to state that a fine 
bittern of the largest size, and the first we liave heard of for a 


long time, was shot last week on the estate of Croompark, which 
stretches almost to the side of the Nitli, and is within a few 
minutes walk of this town. This bird, which we have seen, is 
obviously a cock, with very bright plumage, considering its colour, 
and has been finely stuffed by Mr. Hellon, at Messrs. J. Kerr 
& Coy's." 

It will be seen there is a difference in the number of brace 
said to have been taken, but the main interest of this paragraph 
centres in the passage concerning the young Ptarmigan from 
Cumberland. That the writer, who was beyond doubt M'Diavmid 
himself, comprehended the importance attached to the capture of 
Ptarmigan is well shown in the following words occurring in an 
article contained in the ' Courier' for November 29tb, 1828 : — 

" To us few things are more agreeable than a day spent among 
the mountains of Scotland ; and hence our ■penchant for exploring 
every loch and cleuch, where a trout leaps, an eagle soars, a ptar- 
migan lingers, the last of its race, or a bittern, derned in some 
solitary marsh, beats his hollow drum as the night closes in." 

In the ' Courier' for May 14th, 1833, in describing a curious 
variety of the Black Grouse, the specimen mentioned in a para- 
graph above quoted is again referred to in the following terms : — 

" Some years ago Mr. Murray, of Broughton, shot a bird 
which the best judges considered a cross between the Bed Grouse 
and Ptarmigan." 

We may now dismiss the specimen in question with the 
remark that, after all, it seems to have borne a suspicious 
resemblance to a Ptarmigan in the lavender-tinted autumn 
plumage. I have failed to discover any trace of the person 
who captured the birds "above Sanquhar"; but the gamekeeper 
at Wanlockhead, who has been fifty years a keeper in the district, 
says he had heard that some Ptarmigan in the Dumfries Museum 
were killed near Wanlockhead. The Museum was established in 
1835, but the catalogue of the contents, printed in 1843, does not 
mention any Ptarmigan. There were two old specimens in the 
Museum, however, that had been there for over forty years. It 
is a painful reflection to me to know that these were thrown to the 
rubbish-heap by myself three or four years ago, being then so 
much moth-eaten and moulded, owing to a long course of neglect, 
that they were barely recognisable as Ptarmigan. I am convinced, 
from enquiries made into their history, that they were really two 


of the birds cnptuvecl near Sanquhar in 1822, and there is every 
reason to believe they were presented to the Museum by Mr. 
M'Diarmid himself. He was one of the projectors of the Museum, 
and for many years afterwards took a keen interest in promoting 
its welfare. The late Duke of Buccleuch introduced Ptarmigan 
near Sanquhar about twenty-five years since, but they immediately 
disappeared. This is, I believe, the only attempt that has been 
made to re-stock any part of the hills in Galloway and Dumfries 
with these interesting birds. 

Hartfell and District. — The same remark I made about the 
absence of oral traditions of Ptarmigan in the district surrounding 
the Lowthers has also to be made in the case of the locality under 
notice. Mr. Roy, Secretary of the Moffat Naturalists' Field Club, 
has most obligingly made enquiries for me in that district, but 
with only a negative result. There are two printed records of 
Ptarmigan in Moffatdale. One of these is contained in the 'New 
Statistical Account' (Moffat Parish, 1835, p. 108) :—" Ptarmigan 
are very rarely seen." The other record is that of Sir W. Jardine 
(' Game Birds,' 1831, p. 172), the same passage being repeated 
verbatim in his ' British Birds ' (vol. iii., p. 95) : — "According to 
Pennant, and some contemporary writers, these birds were found 
on the hills of Westmoreland and Cumberland ; and, I believe, 
recollections even exist of a few having been seen upon the high 
ranges which ajipear on the opposite border of Scotland. These 
have been for some time extirpated, and unless a few solitary 
pairs remain on Skiddaw, or some of its precipitous neighbours, 
the range of the Grampians will be its most southern British 
station." No precise locality is here named, but " the high 
ranges" on the border of Scotland "opposite" to Cumberland can 
only be the Moffat Hills. 

I think I have in the preceding pages succeeded in showing 
that Ptarmigan were natives of the South-west of Scotland until 
near the end of the first quarter of the present centur}'. During 
my enquiries I have never heard the slightest hint that the 
Ptarmigan that used to live on our hills might have been white 
or particoloured specimens of the common Red Grouse. The 
suggestion in question is of such a nature that it is not easily 
disproved, but I look upon it as a rather gratuitous complication 
introduced into an otherwise very interesting piece of historical 
ornithology. But when we find that on nearly all the outlying 


stations of the present race of Ptarmigan in Scotland, such as in 
Ai-ran, in Argyle, and the Outer Hebrides, these birds are 
decreasing and on some i^hices have even become extinct, and 
that on many of the high inh^nd ranges they are also known to be 
diminishing in numbers, their extinction on the Scottish and 
English borders over half a century ago is not surprising. When 
they were on the mountains of Dumfriesshire and Gallowny there 
is no improbability, but the reverse, that they were also at the 
same time native to the Cumbrian mountains. The English hills 
are within easy sight from all the higher peaks on our ranges ; 
and there can be no question that the former are high enough, 
and in other respects suited to be the abodes of these feathered 
children of the mist. 


By J. E. Kelsall. 

As a supplement to the editorial remarks on Horse-shoe Bats 
in 'The Zoologist' for January last, and encouraged by the 
further observations of Lord Lilford (p. 62), I have collected all 
the records that I have been able to find of the occurrence of 
the smaller species, Rhinolophus hifposideros, in Britain, being 
able, thanks to the kindness of many naturalists, to add a few 
•which have not before been printed. As the Editor truly 
remarked, the larger species, R. ferrum-equinum, is found only 
in the southern and western counties ; its distribution may be 
summarised as "England south of the Thames (from Kent to 
Cornwall) and South "Wales." Its Welsh localities have not been 
mentioned before in ' The Zoologist ' : they are the Mumbles near 
Swansea, in Glamorganshire ('Field,' Jan. 1, 1881), and the Old 
Wogan, a partly natural, partly artificial, cave, which adjoins 
Pembroke Castle, where it has been found by Mr, James Tracy, 
of Pembroke. In the same article it was stated that the 
smaller species also was chiefly restricted to the southern 
counties of England, but the following records will show that 
its range extends much more to the north and west than that of 
its congener, and not so far eastward. 

In the south-western corner of England it is frequently met 
with : for Cornwall I may quote Couch (Zool. 1853, p. 3941). 


[See also Couch, 'Cornish Fauna,' part i. p. 6, and Cocks, 'The 
Naturalist,' vol. i. p. 37. — Ed.] For Devonshire, see Montagu, 
Trans. Linn. Soc. vol. ix. p. 163, and Lord Lilford, in last 
month's 'Zoologist' (p. 63). [See also Bellamy, 'Nat, Hist. 
South Devon,' p. 193 ; Brooking Rowe, 'Cat. Mamm., &c., Devon,' 
p. 3 ; W. Borrer, Zool. 1874, p. 4129 ; D'Urban, ' Handbook 
S. Devon,' Append, p. xxvi. (1875); and Parfitt, 'Fauna of 
Devon ' (1877), p. 17.— Ed.] 

Somerset is given as a habitat in Jenyns' 'Manual,' and the 
venerable author has kindly vs^ritten, in answer to my inquiry, 
that it is frequent in the neighbourhood of Bath, the specimens 
in the Museum there having been taken in a stone-quarry 
together with the larger species; and that "many years back" 
he received others taken in churches in Bristol. The Rev. 
M. A. Mathew also informs me that he has taken li. liipposideros 
in a cave at Uphill, near Weston-super-Mare, "some years ago." 
For Dorsetshire we have again the authority of Jenyns' ' Manual 
of British Vertebrates ' (p. 20). 

In the Isle of Wight Mr. H. Rogers, of Freshwater, who 
knows the larger species, and feels sure that he is not mistaken 
in the identification, tells me that one specimen of R. hipjjosideros 
was taken about twenty years ago at Niton ; but it must be 
uncommon in the island (perhaps a recent immigrant ?), as it 
was never discovered there by Mr. A. G. More, nor by any other 
good observer who has lived there. [R.ferram-equinum, on the 
other hand, is the commonest large Bat in the Undercliff; 
cf. More in Venables' ' Guide to the Isle of Wight,' p. 409 ; and 
W. Borrer, Zool. 1874, p. 4129.— Ed.] 

It was in Wiltshire that it was first discovered, by Montagu, 
to be a British species. (Linn. Trans, ix. p. 163). 

[Worcestershire. — Dr. Hastings, in his ' Illustrations of the 
Nat. Hist. Worcestershire ' (1834), includes (p. 62) "the large 
Horse-shoe, Rhinoloplms ferrum-equinwin," but not the lesser 
species. — Ed.] 

Gloucestershire and Warwickshire were added by Mr. Tomes 
in the second edition of Bell's 'British Quadrupeds' (1874), 
though it cannot be considered common in the latter county, 
since Mr. Tomes mentions only two localities for it — Welford, 
and Ragley near Alcester. In the former county it is stated to 
be not rare at Cirencester. 


[Staflfordsliire. — The Lesser Horse-shoe Bat is not mentioned 
by Garner in his * Nat. Hist, of the Co. Stafford,' but Mr. J. E. 
Masefield, in a paper on ' The existing Indigenous Mammalia of 
North Staffordshire,' includes it as occurring near Burton, on the 
authority of Mr. Edwin Brown. — Ed.] 

It is remarkable that these counties appear to form the south- 
eastern limit of this Bat in England. On the Hampshire 
mainland ten other species have been met with, in Sussex nine, 
not counting Mr. Borrer's specimens of the Serotine (Zool. 1874, 
p. 4126), in Kent eight, and the same number in Essex (where 
Mr. Laver is well acquainted with seven) ; and yet neither 
Mr. Bond, Mr. Borrer, Mr. Laver, Mr. Kope, nor Mr. Southwell 
seem to have met with R. hipposideros in any district to the 
south-east of those I have named ; indeed, Mr. Laver, in his 
"List of the Mammals of Essex" ('Trans. Essex Field Club,' 
vol. ii. p. 162), states that he does not believe either species of 
Horse-shoe Bat occurs in the district, which is strong negative 
evidence, considering the large number of Bats which have 
passed through his hands. I should be glad if any reader of 
' The Zoologist ' could suggest a reason for its absence from the 
south-east corner of England : it can scarcely be for want of 
natural caverns, since it has often been taken in buildings. 
Leisler's Bat, an arboreal species, appears to be similarly 
restricted in its range. 

But passing to the north and west we find distinct, if 
fragmentary, evidence of a much wider range than that of the 
larger species. 

Wales is mentioned as a habitat in Jenyns' ' Manual of 
British Vertebrates,' although, as the author informs me, he 
does not now remember from what county he heard of it ; but 
Mr. Storrie, of the Cardiff Museum, tells me that he has found 
it near Bridgend, Glamorganshire ; and Mr. Tracy, of Pembroke, 
states that he has frequently taken it at Stackpoole, Pembroke- 
shire. A more vague report from Denbighshire I have yet to 
investigate. [Donovan found a living specimen of this Bat 
amongst the ivy overhanging the mouldering battlements of 
Eaglan Castle, Monmouthshire (Brit. Quadrupeds, pi. ii.). — Ed.] 

In Herefordshire it has been taken over the kitchens at 
Sufton Court, as recorded by Mr. E. M. Lingwood (Ann. & Mag. 
Nat. Hist. 1840, p. 185). 


For Derbyshire we have the evidence of Sir Oswakl Moslej-, 
in his ' Natural History of Tutbury,' that he received many 
si^ecimens from " the calcareous caverns of Dovedale and Mat- 
lock," and believed it to be dispersed over the whole of the 
limestone districts of the county. 

In Nottinghamshire Mr. Whitaker has not met with it, but 
Mr. J. Eay Hardy, of the Manchester Museum, informs me that 
he picked up a dead one from the ground at Edwinstowe, in 
Sherwood Forest, years ago, " too far gone to make a good 
specimen." In sending me two Irish specimens he observed 
that if these are rightly named (as they certainly are) the 
Nottinghamshire specimen was identical with them. 

For Yorkshire we have the authority of Messrs. Eoebuck and 
Clarkson for its occurrence in a cave at Eavestone, near Eipon 
(see Zool. 1882, p. 186, and 1884, p. 173), and at Pateley Bridge 
(' Naturalist,' 1886, p. 339) ; and for Cheshire, Byerley's ' Fauna 
of Liverpool,' where we learn that one was taken at Storeton 
Quarry, near Birkenhead, about 1834. 

Eenfrewshire apparently marks its northern limit. In Dr. 
A. E. Young's ' Statistical Account of Eenfrewshire,' Crookston 
Castle in that county is mentioned as a locality, but the late 
Mr. Alston, in his ' Fauna of the West of Scotland ' (p. 7), 
expressed his opinion that some mistake had been made in the 

The discovery of this Bat in Galway and Clare was referred 
to in the editorial remarks above mentioned, and Mr. A. G. More 
informs me that he has himself taken it in some numbers, in the 
former county, in a cave at Coole Park, near Gort, the seat of 
Sir W. Gregory. 

Thanks to the kindness of Mr. Eay Hardy, I am glad to be 
able to record the occurrence of R. hipposideros in the county of 
Kerry, namely, at Muckross, near Killarney. " Both males and 
females were common," he writes, "flying about the old Abbey 
by hundreds." He says : — " It was in July, 1885 : I got the 
stable-man to let me go into the hay-loft at Mr. Herbert's 
stables at Muckross, where they hung from the beams above in 
great numbers. With my butterfly-net I could have taken ten 
at one stroke, and the excrement between the joists of the floor 
was half an inch deep ; I measured it carefully. I only got one 
specimen of the curious parasite, Nycteribia hermanni {N. 


hiarticulata, Westwoocl), though I looked on scores." This 
deacriptiou of their haunt agrees very well with that given by 
Mr. Tomes in Bell's ' British Quadrupeds.' * Mr. Hardy has lent 
me two of his Irish specimens, one of which measures 9g- in. 
between the tips of the extended wings, without unnatural 
distention. I have a white specimen from the collection of the 
late Mr. Slopur, of Devizes. 

On two females of this Bat, taken by Mr. Ingleby in the Eed 
Hole, Eavestone, near Eipon, on Christmas Day, 1885, I found 
two specimens of an orange-coloured Acarus (on the margin of 
the ear of one of them) and two of a Nycterihia, since identified 
by reference to Prof. Westwood's paper in the Zoological Society's 
* Transactions ' (vol. i. p. 292) as N. hiarticulata, Hermann. 
The same parasite was found upon this Bat by Donovan. 
Perhaps in hybernation the parasite gains more completely the 
upper hand. In ' The Zoologist ' for 1861 Dr. Kinahan speaks 
of this Bat as infested with a large and "disgusting-looking" 
tick ; and the position of the Acari agrees with that of those 
found on a BarhasteUe by Mr. Gurney, as described in ' The 
Zoologist ' for 1847. 

In one of the books I have lately consulted it was mentioned 
that this Bat carried its tail over its back, as is shown in the 
figure of the Greater Horse-shoe Bat given in ' The Zoologist ' 
for January. [This observation is made by Couch (Zool. 1853, 
p. 3941). In the Noctule, on the contrary, the tail is tucked 
under it, just as a dog puts its tail between its legs. Two living 
specimens now before us, as they hang suspended, look as if 
they were tailless. — Ed.] 

In conclusion, while thanking the many naturalists who have 
answered my inquiries, whether able to help me or not, I may 
say that I should be glad to hear of any new locality for this 
Bat, or any British species other than the Pipistrelle, the Long- 
eared, and the Noctule. I feel sure that if readers of ' The 
Zoologist ' were to furnish the results of their exi^erience they 
could put on record a better account of the distribution of these 
obscure animals in Britain than is at present to be found in any 
published work. 

'■^'- According to Dr. J. JX. Kinahan the sexes hybernate apart. See an 
interesting article by him entitled " Three daj's among the Bats in Clare," 
' Zoologist,' 1861, pp. 7617-7624.— Ed. 



IN 1886. 

By Egbert Gray. 

(Continued from p. 57.) 

A CONTINUATION of nortlierly winds, strong generally to the 
force of a gale, had not the effect, as might naturally be supposed, 
of causing any remarkable change in the position of the ice. 
Beyond a certain limit it continued to remain close and im- 
penetrable. No blueness of the western sky indicated open 
water and invited approach ; all in that direction presented a 
uniform and dazzling whiteness, sea and sky ! Along the edge of 
this impenetrable mass, however, a belt of navigable ice, 
extending seawards some fifty miles, was gradually formed. In 
this area we continued cruising in search of whales. Floes and 
fields lay scattered about in careless-like confusion with packs 
and streams of broken-up ice ; Polar bears were seem almost 
daily, stalking about on the ice-fields, doubtless attracted b}'^ the 
vast numbers of Floe-rats {Phoca liisjnda). Narwhals were in 
hundreds to be seen almost at all times more or less abundant. 
Looms and Eotches there were without number, Dovekies {Uria 
grxjlle), Puffins {Fratercula arctica), Snow-birds, Burgomasters, 
Kittiwakes {Rissa tridactyla), were also numerous ; the sea Avas 
generally grass-green in colour, and always contained an 
abundance of the various forms of Entomostraca, Pteropoda, 
Gasteropoda and Medusidse, &c., which go to constitute the 
food of the whale. Nothing in fact was wanting to comiDlete a 
perfect resort for the Greenland Eight Whale, its food was in 
abundance, the surroundings were apparently congenial to its 
habits, and still more, the time it was when these animals are 
wont to frequent this part of the Arctic Seas for a considerable 

June 5th. Spoke the s.s. " Erik." Capt. A. Gray told us 
that on the 3rd inst., in lat. 70° 15' N., 2° 30'. E., a large Finner 
{B. sibhaldii) was seen for several hours, feeding amongst the ice 
near his ship, accompanied by two calves. 

June Gth. Saw three whales * ; one of these we captured, a 

*It is scarcely necessary to explain that when the word "whale" is used 
B. mysticetus is implied. 


small bull (5 ft. 3 in. bone). Although a small animal its rump 
was quite grey. I found the spaces between the laminae of 
baleen to measure three-eighths of an inch ; the length of the 
"hair" attached to their inner margins 13 in., the thickness of 
the blubber on the body 8 in., at the neck decreasing to in. 
towards the tail. 

June 8th. Narwhals numerous with their young. 

June llth. A flock of Brent Geese [Bernicla brenta), 
consisting of at least forty birds, seen flying westward, very low, 
across the ice. Large flocks of these birds are to be seen here 
about this time, flying in a similar direction every season. 
Therefore, if not an open Polar sea, yet sufficient open water 
must break out annually beyond the " barrier " to warrant the 
migration, not only of these birds, but also (as has already been 
said) of Balccna mysticetus towards it. The same day, while 
reaching eastwards from the edge of the close-ice, we passed 
over a number of strips of water, alternately blue and green. 

June 12th. While sailing southwards along the edge of the 
close-ice, in company with the "Erik," a whale was seen coming 
towards us from the S.E. Both vessels hauled to and lowered 
their boats. The whale continued its course to the N.W., 
towards the close-ice, six boats following in hot pursuit. Owing 
to the competition between the two ships it soon became evident 
that all caution, all rules being laid aside, the chase would either 
prove a failure, or rashness would win the day. Beaching the 
edge of the close-ice, the "fish," which hitherto had been 
swimming at a rate of five miles per hour, now relaxed its speed 
and began playing about. The first boat up would get a chance ! 
Towards it all the boats directed their course, every oarsman 
pulling his very utmost ; a boat from each ship led the way ; 
neither had the advantage ; they were rapidly approaching within 
shot; the harpooners stood to their guns, when the two boats 
steering for the same object rapidly closed with one another and 
unavoidably came into collision. The whale meanwhile had 
dived, soon afterwards it reappeared, again the boats were almost 
within shot, again it dived to reappear once more before finally 
dipping under a floe. This time one of our boats pulled right on 
to its back, and the harpooner, depressing the gun, would un- 
doubtedly have got fast, had not the gun unfortunately snapped. 
One of the "Erik's" boats had by this time fired, but not being 


within range (20 yards) the " foregoer " tightened and the 
harpoon fell short. The whale, a young animal, undoubtedly 
long ere this fully conscious of being pursued, at this juncture 
seemed to forget itself, for moving too far forward, it allowed its 
under jaw to become shelved on a " tongue " of ice. Quickly 
backing astern, however, the animal very soon cleared itself and 
immediately dived under the ice, a small round floe. The whale 
could now only be regarded as " scared," and the chase 
virtually at an end. Nevertheless, as a slight hope remained 
of the animal again making its appearance, the boats took up 
stations round the floe and patiently waited. Thirty minutes 
elapsed without its reappearing, already some of the boats were 
returning to their ships; forty minutes had just elapsed, when at 
the very same place where it had first disappeared the animal was 
seen coming out below the ice. All the boats were by this time 
returning on board, but the last one to give up the chase — 
fortunately yet at no great distance, — saw the whale and imme- 
diately returned. Thereafter the others followed, and the whale 
was eventually harpooned by one of the ' Erik's ' boats. Imme- 
diatel}'^ when harpooned the animal dived, taking out line with 
great rapiditj'-, and descending almost perpendicularly downwards. 
Meanwhile the boats took up positions about the place where they 
expected the " fish " to reappear. The whale having ran out 
about one mile of line, and having probably descended to a 
depth of over 500 fathoms, returned to the surface some thirty 
minutes after being harpooned. Several boats being at hand, 
second and third harpoons were successively " fired in." The 
whale now set out along the surface, at a rate of some six miles 
per hour, towing, however, four heavy whale boats behind it. 
Swimming between wind and water, it continued for some time to 
throw itself bodily forward, half of the animal appearing above 
water, falling into the sea again with a dreadful splash, at the 
same time rolling off one side on to the other as it advanced 
forward; the pectoral fins as they alternately appeared above 
water were raised erect, the tail was also frequentlj^ exposed. At 
length becoming quieter in its movements and slower in its 
speed, some of the boats succeeded in getting up and endeavoured 
to lance. Their efforts, however, were on almost every occasion 
frustrated by the animal turning upon the boats and violently 
pushing them away with its head. A number of oars were 


broken and more than one boat narrowly escaped being capsized. 
Subsequently the whale received a fourth harpoon, when, throwing 
its tail high in the air, it disappeared. The boats were patiently 
waiting its reappearance, many with some of their oars broken, 
all the seamen more or less drenched. Suddenly, but slowly and 
steadily, the animal's tail was seen rising vertically upward, close 
alongside one of the boats ; having reached a certain height, it 
commenced to descend with equal slowness, rubbing against the 
boat's gunwale all the while, until at length it sank out of sight. 
A few minutes afterwards the animal quietly floated up to the 
surface dead. 

June 13th. Life very abundant, Narwhals and Floe-rats 
being particularly numerous. Four Bears were shot, and several 
others were seen ; of the former two were mother and young, the 
latter, however, so large as to be scarcely recognisable as a cub. 
The same evening, while two of these bear-skins were towing 
astern, a Narwhal was noticed following in the wake ; after 
examining the bear-skins it seized hold of one of them with its 
mouth and commenced tugging at it, and if it had not been for a 
timely rifle-bullet would undoubtedly have succeeded in tearing 
the skin to pieces. 

June 19th. Laying in a small " bight" in the ice-edge, where 
we have been for several days. Narwhals have been very abundant, 
visiting us regularly every morning, being always most numerous 
about 4 a.m. A few Arctic Terns, Sterna hirundo, seen in the 
morning. At night we passed a small land-bird resembling a 
Snipe sitting on a piece of ice. 

June 21st. A heavy point of ice, which, hitherto remaining 
close and impenetrable, had extended over a considerable portion 
of the whaling-banks, now broke up and we were enabled to reach 
this part of the ground. The water, although blue and clear, 
contained a very great abundance of whales' food, Calanus Jin- 
viarckicus. Narwhals were playing about in hundreds; here 
also had been the Greenland Right Whale quite recently and in no 
inconsiderable numbers. This we were led to believe from the 
quantities of "blowings" (mucous discharges from the spiracles 
of whales) which were lying about everywhere on the surface of 
the sea. Some of these blowings still shed a film of oil around 
them, and appeared to be of no great age. More convincing 
Still, perhaps, amongst it there was found the hard shell of that 



particular kind of parasite which is occasionally found infesting 
the whale. An easterly swell, the cause which had been so 
effective in destroying this point of ice, had been equally effective 
in breaking up into pack-ice the floes lying to the westward. To 
the refuge so formed the whales had undoubtedly retreated, and 
most likely were still lying there perfectly secure from attack. 

Although undoubtedly ice-loving in its habits before the inter- 
ference of man, the Greenland Eight Whale, having there no 
enemy to fear from which it had not the power to escape, wandered 
seawards in quest of its food, which in many seasons, owing to 
the position of the ice, is to be found there in the greatest 
abundance. Certainly it found a resort in the bays and fiords 
of Spitzbergen, which in the stillness of their recesses closely 
resembled the "polynias" of its native ice-fields. Although 
necessarily in some seasons many miles from the Greenland 
west ice, from the margin of which I conceive it to have 
strayed, Balcena mysticetus nevertheless annually visited the 
bays and fiords of the western coast of Spitzbergen, but only, 
I presume, a visit in its duration and date coincident with its 
appearance at the west margin of the west ice in " North Green- 
land," as already described. The effect of the interference of 
man will now be easily understood. In the bays and fiords of 
Spitzbergen it was first found, there it was first harpooned, and 
from thence, as being farthest from its home, by continued 
persecution it was first driven. To the west ice it was followed, 
there the persecution was continued, the animal became still 
more timid in its habits, still more anxious of its safety, the 
bays and deep recesses along the margins of the ice became 
less frequently visited, and the Greenland Right \^ hale, 
avoiding open water as dangerous, regarded the heave of the 
ocean's swell as the signal to retreat, and thus preferred to 
remain amongst the close-ice, knowing that while there it was 
secure beyond the reach of its enemies. In short, Balcena 
mysticetus was originally so ice-loving in its habits, that its 
annual migrations were formerly the same as at present, but that 
by long and continued persecution it has become considerably 
more timid and cautious in its habits, which, together with the 
great reduction in its numbers, brought about by the same 
means, it first ceased to visit the west coast of Spitzbergen, its 
appearance in the o^ien sea became an occurrence of increasing 


rarity, until at length the open bays along the margin of the ice 
have almost ceased to be visited, and the Greenland Whale of 
the present day seldom leaves the protection afforded by the 
close-ice. Further, that the extent of sea covered by ice broken 
up by the action of swell (" pack-ice") and impenetrable to ships 
is in most seasons of vast extent, and if to this area be added the 
polynias or open spaces of water, large and small, which there is 
every reason to believe break out amongst the floes, the former 
only at certain times and in certain places, the latter perhaps 
always and everywhere, it will be seen that with whatever zeal 
and perseverance its persecution is continued, an area of sufficient 
extent will always remain unpenetrated, in which the Greenland 
Whale, enjoying immunity from attack, will continue to exist in 
sufficient numbers to remove the possibility of its ever becoming 
exterminated ; and that its present apparent exceeding scarcity 
in the Greenland Seas is to be ascribed to the seclusiveness of 
its habits and its prefei'ence to remain amongst close impenetrable 
ice rather than to the species becoming extinct. 

June 24th. One Great Skua, Stercorarius catarrhactes, seen ; 
also a small bird about the size of a Swallow, with a reddish 
throat and brown wings. 

June 25th. Sailing southwards along the ice-edge, the wind 
light from the eastward, a really dreadful swell from the S.E. 
running. The ' Erik,' then in our company, at the distance of 
only half a mile, was being taken completely out of our sight, 
masts and all, as she sank in the trough of the sea ; a strong 
gale from the S.E. had recently been blowing. The efi^ect of such 
a swell on the neighbouring ice is to be imagined rather than 
described ; at a distance of four or five miles the noise was 
sufficiently appalling to forbid nearer approach. 6 p.m., being in 
lat. 78° 10' N. and long. 1° W., a Chimney Swift, Chtetura pelasgia, 
was noticed sitting on one of the yards. A seaman went aloft, 
and finding it asleep brought it down in his hand. The bird was 
very much exhausted — in fact, almost dead. I suppose it had 
been carried across from Norway by the recent gale. A few 
Arctic Puffins seen ; they are not common so far from land. The 
North Greenland whaling was now over for the season, and we 
were steei'ing southwards along the ice-edge towards the South 
Greenland whaling-grounds. These lie to the southward of the 
75th parallel of latitude and to the eastward of the coast of 


Greenland ; it may also be added that this region is limited 
to the southward and eastward by the ice-edge, and that the 
South Greenland whales are generally killed to the westward 
of the meridian of Jan Mayen, and to the northward of the 
70th parallel. The fishing is extremely uncertain ; in some 
seasons the ice is so far to the eastward as to prevent the ships 
getting within several hundreds of miles of the ground, in others it 
is so far west that the swell is able to reach the ice lying on the 
ground, and convert it into an impenetrable pack, and thus, 
although the ships are able to reach the locality, unless the winds 
prevail from the S.W. and keep the ice open, they are almost as 
helpless as before. If, however, the ice is not too far to the 
eastward, and is navigable as far west as the ground, whales are 
occasionally found here in comparatively great numbers, and 
good cargoes are sometimes obtained. The appearance of 
whales so far south at this time of the year, apparently in direct 
contradiction to their migx-ation northwards earlier in the season, 
as already stated, is somewhat difficult of explanation. It may, 
however, be interesting to know : — (1) That the greater propor- 
tion (about 90 per cent.) of the whales killed here are full-grown 
males ; (2) that they have been followed south-westwards from 
the North Greenland grounds, from which they are frequently 
seen departing about the month of June ; (3) that this class of 
old whales sometimes never migrate northwards, and consequently 
remain on the South Greenland grounds during the whole season 
(May to September) ; (4) that in some years the South Greenland 
grounds are completely deserted early in the season, or at any 
rate no whales are seen there dm-ing the summer. The ice 
undoubtedly plays a most important part in influencing these 
migrations, but the exact manner in which this is effected has yet 
to be explained. 

[With the concluding portion of this article we hope to give, 
in our next number, a good figure of Balana mysticetus, from a 
careful drawing by Capt. David Gray. — Ed.] 

(To be continued.) 

( 101 ) 


By George Dimmook. 

Insects are generally considered to be beneficial to fishes by 
furnishing them one of the most unfailing sources of food. There 
are, however, a few insects which are injurious to fishes, thus 
making an exception to the rule. DeGeer published a statement, 
in 1774, that the larvae of dragonflies (Libellulidse) would seize 
and kill fishes, a statement confirmed by Dale in 1832. Von 
Miitzschefahl, in 1778-79, mentions several aquatic insects 
which attacked the Perch, among them two species of water- 
beetles (Dytiscidse) and two species of water-bugs {Notonecta 
glauca and Nepa linearis, now called Ranatra linearis). The 
destruction of young fishes by water-beetles has since been 
noted by Elles in 1830, by Dale in 1832, and by Riley in 1885. 
In regard to the water- bugs, observations published within the 
past few years have not only confirmed the above-mentioned 
earlier statements, but other bugs have been discovered to attack 
fishes. Leidy, as early as 1847, writes that species of Belostoma 
and Perthostoma (Zaitha) prey upon fishes. Glover, in 1875, 
states that Ranatra quadridenticulata and Belostoma americanum 
feed on small fishes, and that Nepa apiculata probably, and 
Notonecta instdaris possibly, do the same. Milner, in 1876, writes 
that Belostoma grande captures and eats fishes. Miss Ormerod, 
in 1878, describes how Ranatra linearis attacks fishes ; the same 
year Peck called attention to the destruction of the eggs of Carp 
by the same insect. Turner, the next year, mentions the killing 
of young Sticklebacks in an aquarium by Belostoma. Leonard 
notices the showing, at the Edinburgh Fisheries Exhibition in 
1882, of a preparation by Hugh D. McGovern, of Brooklyn, 
N. Y., of a year-old Trout, " surmounted by the fish-eating bug, 
Belostoma grandis," which was in the act of killing the fish by 
piercing its head ; and Todd, the same year, describes how a 
Belostoma, about three-quarters of an inch long, was seen to 
vanquish a fish three or four times its own length. Uhler, in 
1884, states that Ranatra destroys the eggs of fishes, and some- 
times attacks the young fishes themselves and sucks their blood. 
Writing of Belostoma grande, the giant species of this genus, 
that is found in tropical America, he states that, " It is a 
formidable monster in the pools of Demerara, where it lurks on 



the bottom of the muddy pools which match its colour, ever 
ready to grasp the unwary fish in the cruel embrace of its sharp 
hooked fore-legs, there to remain fixed until life becomes extinct 
with the outflow of its blood." This author adds, " Scarcely 
less rapacious are the species inhabiting the United States. 
One of these, B. grisea, is the facile master of the ponds and 
estuaries of the tidal creeks and rivers of the Atlantic States. 
Developing in the quiet pools, secreting itself beneath stones or 
rubbish, it watches the approach of a Pomotis, mud-minnow, 
frog, or other small-sized tenant of the water, when it darts with 
sudden rapidity upon its unprepared victim, grasps the creature 
with its strong, clasping fore-legs, plunges its deadly beak deep 
into the flesh, and proceeds with the utmost coolness to leisurely 
suck its blood. A copious supply of saliva is poured into 
the wound, and no doubt aids in producing the paralysis which 
so speedily follows its puncture in small creatures." 

That the loss of fish due to these insects is considerable 
seems quite probable, because, notwithstanding their secluded 
habits, they are not rarely to be seen about ponds, sometimes 
even in the act of taking fishes. The following quotation from a 
letter from Mr. E. A. Brackett, of Winchester, Mass., Chairman 
of the Commissioners on Inland Fisheries for Massachusetts, 
under date of Dec. 16th, 1886, will illustrate this fact. He 
writes, " In October last, while drawing ofi' the Carp-pond, the 
water became very roily, and I noticed several young Carp moving 
on the surface, sidewise, evidently propelled by some external 
force. With a dip-net I took these young fish out, and found 
that in every case they were firmly held by a water-bug. The 
fish were dead, and the bugs apparently had been feeding on 
them. I had no means of determining how many of these 
bugs were in the pond." 

The largest, and without doubt the most dangerous to fishes, 
of these water-bugs, are those which belong to the family, 
Belostomidse. It is especially of these Belostomidae that this 
paper treats. In the north-eastern United States the common 
forms of these bugs belong to the genera, Zaitha, Belostoma and 
Benacus. The form of insects belonging to the genus Belostoma, 
is elongated oval, and their considerably flattened form and large 
size, serves to distinguish them from all the other before- 
mentioned water-bugs, except those belonging to the genus 


Nepa, and from them they are easily distinguished by the fact 
that the body of Nejxi terminates in a long tube formed by the 
apposition of two grooved appendages ; through this tube the 
insect obtains air for breathing, while the species of Belostnma 
have no such tube. The form in Zaitha is like that of Belostoma, 
but the species are smaller. In Benacus, another closely allied 
genus, of which the sole species, B. haldemamim, is found in the 
United States, the femur of each fore-leg lacks the groove on its 
forward side, — a groove which is present in the species of 
Belostoma, and which serves for the partial reception of the tibia 
when the fore-leg is folded up. The genera Zaitha and Benacus 
formerly wei'e considered to be a part of the genus Belostoma. 

Insects of the family Belostomidae are abundant in nearly all 
parts of the tropical and temperate zones of both hemispheres, 
except in Europe, where they are extremely rare ; but, as a. 
general rule, these insects are larger the warmer the climate in 
which they live. Individual specimens of Belostoma grande are 
sometimes found in tropical America, which measure four inches 
in length, and B. gr'iseum, which is found in the northern 
United States, attains a length of three and a half inches. The 
young of this species when only two days from the egg measured, 
according to Packard, a third of an inch in length. 

The colour of the species of Belostomidse is brown, of a 
greater or less depth, or of a yellowish or a greenish shade. 
Partially covered with mud, they are diflBcult to discover. The 
sexes are not easy to distinguish from one another, except that 
females can at times be distinguished by the eggs which they carry. 

These large insects are not only provided with powerful fore- 
legs which they use to seize their prey, and strong, somewhat 
oar-shaped hind-legs for swimming; but, when full-grown, they 
have strong wings and are capable of long-sustained flight. By 
their flights, which, as in most aquatic Hemiptera, take place 
at night, these insects pass from one pond to another. This 
insures them a wide distribution, and makes their extermination 
a difficult matter. Living, as they often do, in pools which dry 
up at certain seasons of the year, this provision for flight is a 
necessity of their existence. That these flights are often long 
and high is proved by the fact that the bugs have been found in 
the midst of large cities, far from any pond or pool, upon the 
roofs of three and four story blocks. It is probable that they 



are found in these situations from having been attracted to the 
reflecting surfaces of sky-lights, for it is well known that water- 
beetles, with their imperfect sight, mistake large expanses of 
glass, such as are presented by greenhouses, for sheets of water. 
Especially attractive, however, to these large water-bugs are 
electric lights, and notices have appeared in the daily press 
of the swarming of these, as well as other insects, about the 
electric lights of cities. In flight, as Mr. Brackett states in the 
letter from which I have already quoted, the species of Belosto- 
midse which he observed can rise directly from the surface of 
the water. 

These insects differ, according to the species, as to their mode 
of egg-laying. Some, like the common Zaitha fluminea of our 
northern waters, lay their eggs on their own backs. In my 
' collection I have a specimen of this species, which has her back 
almost entirely covered b,y a nicely-arranged layer of elongated- 
oval dark-brown eggs, which number over 175. These eggs 
are set nicely upon one end, and placed in transverse rows, 
by means of a long protrusile tube, or ovipositor, which the 
insect can extend far over her own back. This mode of oviposi- 
tion insures the safety of the eggs until the young are hatched, 
The eggs are fastened to the back of the naother by a very thin 
layer of a waterproof gum secreted by the insect. The entire 
layer of eggs is apt to split from the insects when they are dried, 
and consequently is rarely seen in collections of insects. The 
young bug hatches from its egg by means of cutting out a 
round lid from the top of the egg, and, at about the time when 
the young brood begins to hatch, the mother sheds the entire 
layer of eggs fi'om her back, something as she would moult her 
skin during growth. It is probable that all the species of 
Zaitha carry their eggs about with them, while, on the other 
hand, some, if not all, the species of Belostoma deposit their 
eggs in masses, under boards and logs, near the margins of the 
pools which they inhabit. 

The young, upon hatching from the eggs, go immediately on 
their predaceous course, often feeding at first on young snails. 
As is true of most Hemiptera — the bugs pi'operly speaking — the 
young differ little from the adults except in the absence of wings 
in the former. In Belostoma the young, liowever, have two 
claws on the tarsi of the fore-legs, while as adults tliey have only 


one tarsal claw in the same place. It is not certainly known, 
but it is likely that these insects reach their full growth in a 

In seizing upon fishes or other small animals these insects 
grasp their prey with their fore-feet, holding it firmly in their 
claws, then piercing it with their beak or proboscis ; for they only 
suck blood, not being able, as is the case with water-beetles, to 
eat the whole animal. The proboscis consists of stout horny 
setee or bristles, which fit closely together to form a fine sucking- 
tube, while the exhaustion is performed by means of a muscular, 
extensible pharynx, or throat. As is probably the case with all 
carnivorous Hemiptera, only living prey is acceptable to these 
insects. The predaceous water-bugs are said to destroy the 
eggs of fishes, although further confirmation of this statement is 

When the water-bugs attack other animals it is noticeable 
that tlie prey dies much quicker than it would normally do, from 
simply the loss of blood consequent upon the sucking of the 
bug, so it is generally supposed that these insects inject a 
poisonous secretion through their proboscis into the wound they 
make. Most of tbese insects inflict severe stings in self-defence, 
if they are handled too freely, using the proboscis for this 
purpose. Leidy has described the salivary glands of Belostoma, 
which are well developed (Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. 1847, 
p. 57), and it is the secretion of these glands that poisons the 
prey when pierced by the proboscis. 

To destroy the bugs that attack fishes is not an easy matter. 
The water-beetles can be trapped by the use of decaying 
animal matter, of which they are very fond. I have seen a 
dead rat in a small pond surrounded by a great number of these 
beetles (Dytiscidas), and they prefer such food to living prey. 
On the other hand, the water-bugs will take only living food, 
so that their entrapping by any bait would be difficult. 

The use of poison for aquatic Hemiptera seems also impracti- 
cable. Water-bugs are so much hardier than fish, that nothing 
dissolved in the water would injure them that would not prove 
dangerous for the fish.* 

* Abridged from the ' Annual Report of the Fish and Game Commis- 
sioners of Massachusetts, 1886.' 



Death of Mr. Robert Gray.— The name of the author of 'The Birds 
of the West of Scotland ' will be well known to our readers, who, we feel 
sure, will hear with regret of his deatli, which took place in Edinburgh on 
February 18th. The son of a merchant in Dunbar, Mr. Gray early in life 
entered the service of the City of Glasgow Bank, where he rose by his 
ability to the position of Inspector of Branches. It was during his journeys 
tlirough the country in that capacity, and especially in the Western High-_ 
lands, that he obtained much of the information about birds which he 
afterwards published in his work above named. From the position of 
Inspector of Branches he was promoted to be Manager of the West End 
Branch of the City of Glasgow Bank in Glasgow, which position he occupied 
until he accepted (about twelve years ago) the post of Superintendent of 
Branches of the Bank of Scotland. After having filled that appointment 
for some years, he became Cashier to the Bank at their head office ia 
Edinburgh, and in that capacity he has ever since been well and favourably 
known. He was a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and 
Secretary to the Royal Physical Society. To naturalists his name will be 
best known by his little book ' The Birds of Ayrshire and Wigtownshire' 
(1869), in which he was assisted by Mr. Thomas Anderson, and his larger 
and more important work, ' The Birds of the West of Scotland,' published 
in 1871, and it is to be regretted that he did not live to carry out the 
project which he had in hand of bringing out a second edition of this, and of 
publishing, in conjunction with Mr. W. Evans, of Edinburgh, a companion 
volume on the Birds of the East of Scotland. 


Dormice in a Garden.- -Some Dormice took up their abode last year 
in an old Blackbird's nest in this garden. The nest was placed in a thorn 
bush about eight feet from the ground. The Dormice showed themselves 
readily on the trunk near the nest on the tree being tapped ; but soon after 
their discovery they disappeared altogether, owing, I am afraid, to their being 
too constantly visited. — E. P. Laeken (Gatton Tower, Reigate). 

Bats in Captivity.— On the 17th January I found a dead Vespertilio 
pipistrellus, without any external injury, in the fork of a laburnum tree, 
about four feet from the ground. It had evidently come out from its winter 
retreat and succumbed to the cold. I once captured one of these small 
Bats in my bedroom on the 27th August, and it lived in captivity for nearly 
three weeks. I fed it on tiies and moths, the latter of which it i-elished the 
most. It was very partial to raw meat, which it devoured ravenously when 


presented to it. I tried the experiment of putting butterflies into its cage, 
but these it never touched. At the beginning of August last I discovered 
a colony of the species V. noctula in a hollow branch of a sycamore tree. 
In order to ascertain their species I resorted to the method of smoking 
them out with brown paper; upon the smoke reaching them they came 
scrambling out of their aperture gnashing their little white teeth like so 
many furies, and making a great squeaking. More than a dozen succeeded 
in making good their escape before I captured one, owing to the awkward 
position of their abode. There were numbers of others in the hole, but 
directly they appeared at the aperture and saw me, they beat a hasty 
retreat, and nothing would induce them to venture forth again. The one 
I caught I placed on the lawn to test the accuracy of the common assertion 
that "Bats rise with much difficulty fom the ground,'" and was much 
surprised with what ease it took wing. It scrambled about a foot along 
the turf, then rose in the air, and was soon lost to sight, being in no wise 
confused by the sun, which was then shining brilliantly. This species is 
very common about the Vale of Aylesbury. — F. Haywakd Paruott (Walton 
House, Aylesbury). 


On the Wing-spur of the Coot, Moorhen, and Water Rail.— On 
examining a nestling Moorhen a year or two ago I was surprised to find 
a perfect hook or claw at the exiremity of each of the bastard wings. With 
the exception of the new edition of ' Yarrell,' and ' The Naturahsts' Librarv,' 
no ornithological work in my posssesion makes mention of this fact. The 
allusion in Yarrell's ' British Birds ' is as follows : — " Moorhen. Wings . . . 
armed with a small sharp recumbent spine." Jardine states : — " Gallinula. 
Generic characters ; wings . . . carpal joint armed with a spine." Neither 
of these authors even hint at the idea of Coots and Water Rails possessing 
the spine in either a greater or less degree. In tiie Moorhen it is white, 
reflexed (or claw-shaped) and sharp. In the Water Kail it is horn-coloured, 
straight, and blunt. What is its true use or raison d'etre? The Horned 
Screamer, Palamedea cornuta, is similarly armed, as is also the Spur-winged 
Goose, although 1 am not certain as to the exact position of tlie spurs in 
the last two cases. The spine must be intended to serve as a weapon of 
offence or defence, or may be intended for pacific purposes only, — as a boat- 
hook ; or, as the Moorhen is known to use its wings in diving, these hooks 
may then be brought into play, or they may be of assistance in keeping the 
rest of tlie body submerged when the beak and nostrils only are i^rotruded 
above the surface of the water to obtain a breath of fresh air " in rebus 
adversis." Or is this a case of evolution? The "claw" is certainly most 
rudimentary in the Water Rail, which is the most averse to flying of either 
of the three birds mentioned. Is it that these birds are now evolving a 
second pair of leg:> ! or, vice versa, a pel feet (t. e. a toeiess and toe-nailless) 


pair of wings from a former second pair of feet? Certainly this claw is not 
a temporary natural appendage such as the nib on the beak of a newly- 
hatched chick, or the tail aud two-chambered heart of the tadpole. What 
then is its use? — Maurice C. H. Bird (West Rudham, Norfolk). 

[Our correspondent should read an article " On the Claws and Spurs 
on Birds' Wings," by Mr. J. A. Jeffries (Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 
] 881, p. 301) ; and another with the same title by Mr. P. L. Sclater, 
puWished in ' The Ibis ' for April, 1886, pp. 147-151.— Ed.] 

Note on Eider Ducks. — On reading Mr. A. H. Chapman's article in 
' The Zoologist' for January last " On the Habits aud Migrations of Wild- 
fowl," I was especially interested in his remarks on what he calls "a most 
extraordinary feat performed by Eiders" (p. 13). On firing at the leading 
bird of four flying in company all dropped to the shot, although only the 
first was killed. During my stay of two years (1881-3) in Arctic Alaska, 
with the U.S. Signal Service Expedition to Point Barrow, I had ample 
opportunity for observing the habits of a different species of Eider, the 
King Eider, Somateria spectabilis, very abundant in that locality during the 
migrations, and frequently observed a somewhat similar performance. 
I have made a brief reference to this observation in ray report on the birds 
of the expedition (Report U.S. International Polar Expedition to Point 
Barrow, 1885, p. 120), The King Eiders, when migrating northwards, 
pass Point Barrow during May and June in enormous flocks. They have 
already paired before reaching the Point, and travel (to quote my words in 
the passage referred to) in " pairs, flying alternately, ducks and drakes. 
If a duck is shot down, the drake almost invariably follows her to the ice, 
apparently supposing that she had alighted." In such cases the drake 
drops so suddenly that more than once we were deceived when shooting 
Eiders, and, running in to pick up our two birds, were surprised to find 
the drake, who was sitting flat ou the ice with his head up like a wounded 
bird, suddenly " pull himself together " and make off unhurt, before we 
could collect our senses sufficiently to secure him with the second barrel. 
Dr. Leonhard Stejneger, of the U.S. National Museum, who spent a year 
on Behring Island, informs me that he has witnessed a similar performance 
by Steller's Duck, Eniconetta stelleri. I had supposed that this peculiar 
feat was only performed by paired birds, but Mr. Chapman's observation 
goes to show that other influences than those of sex may induce the Eiders 
to indulge in this extraordinary game of " follow my leader." — John 
Murdoch (U.S. National Museum, Washington, D.C.). 

Partridges with white "Horse-shoes."— When shooting, on the 20th 
September, just over the Northamptonshire boundary, I shot a Partridge 
which had the horseshoe pure white, with the exception of a spot or two of 
faint chestnut at the upper end, imperceptible until the feathers were lifted. 


It was a bird of the year, having almost completed its moult. For two or 
three years I have noticed that the birds on a certain farm in Oxfordshire, 
not far from where the bird in question was killed, have a good deal of white 
mixed with the ordinary chestnut of the horseshoe, and the proportion of 
white seems to be increasing year by year, some birds killed this season 
showing about an even amount of white and brown. The bird shot the 
other day is, however, the first I have ever heard of about here with a quite 
white mark. The first of this variety I ever saw was sent to a stuffer 
in Banbury in 1879, and was killed, I believe, in Bedfordshire; it was 
considered a great rarity. In Nottinghamshire, Mr. Whitaker tells me 
that the birds with white horseshoe are often met with, but the abundance of 
Partridges in that countv would partly account for this. Mr. Whitaker has 
skins of some curious dark-coloured birds, also procured there. — Oliver V. 
Aplin (Bloxham, near Banbury, Oxon). 

Usefulness of the Rook in destroying Caterpillars. — A notable 
instance of tbe usefulness of the Rook has recently come under my own 
observation in Sutton Park. During the summer almost every oak tree 
in the woods is stripped of its leaves by the larva of a lepidopterous insect 
known to lepidopterists as Hybernia defoUaria, and locally known as the 
Oak or Autumn Moth. The imago of this insect makes its appearance 
during the autumn and winter months, from the end of September to the 
middle of January. The males, in the daytime, may be seen at rest on the 
trunks of trees, generally in great abundance; but the females, which 
resemble spiders, are seldom observed, because they effectually hide them- 
selves in the crevices of the bark and under leaves, and only stir about at 
night, when they deposit their eggs. In April the young caterpillars hatch 
and crawl up the branches of the trees, commencing at once to devour the 
buds as they open. As the leaves expand they grow correspondingly, until 
they reach the length of a little more than an inch. After a shower of rain 
or a little wind thousands of these caterpillars, becoming alarmed, let them- 
selves down by their webs, and remain suspended for hours in mid-air 
swinging to and fro in the breeze. Everyone going through the woods 
during the months of May and June experiences the unpleasantness of 
constantly coming into contact with their webs, and the incessant itching 
of the hands and face occasioned thereby. Indeed to many persons this 
annoyance causes them to avoid the woods during this part of the year. 
The caterpillars continue to feed until about the middle of July, by which 
time they have stripped nearly every oak tree of its leaves, and caused it to 
look as if winter had overtaken it. During the last few years these insect- 
pests have not contented themselves with stripping the oaks, but have 
attacked indiscriminately mountain ash, bilberry, brake fern, and all low- 
lying vegetation. No artificial means could effectually cope with such a 
wide area as the one attacked. The only remedy is to let Nature take her 


own course. Immediately after the breeding-season Rooks, with their 
newly-fledged young, fly off to the woods, where they remain for several 
weeks, where amongst these caterpillars they obtain an abundance of food 
without any trouble. All day long these birds may be seen, in company with 
large flocks of Jackdaws and Starlings, busily engaged on the tops of the 
trees devouring the grubs. Last year a visible decrease was made in their 
numbers, judging from the decrease in the number of moths that emerged 
in the autumn. This year the caterpillars have been much less plentiful; 
but some allowance must be made for the numbers destroyed during the 
wet which was experienced in the early spring. — W. Harcodrt Bath (The 
Limes, Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham). 

Albino Birds observed in the Harrogate District. — During the last 
few years albino specimens of some of the commoner birds have been of 
frequent occurrence. Those which have come under my notice in this 
district are the following: — An albino Blackbird for the last three years 
frequented Harlow Moor, and a perfectly white specimen was obtained at 
Harewood. A pied House Sparrow for some months frequented Parliament 
Street, one of our main thoroughfares. Li the summer of 1884 Mr. J. 
Simpson shot a pure white albino Sky Lark at Birk Crag. Mr. J. Heaton, 
also during the same year, shot in the fields adjoining the Hydropathic 
Establishment a smoky white Starling, the bill and legs of which were of 
the same colour. On the 3rd of January last Mr. R. Wood (Oatlands, 
Harrogate) informed me that he had on the previous day observed in his 
stackyard a pied Robin, the back and tail of which were perfectly white, 
the remaining parts being of the usual colour. — J. R. Fitzgerald 

Habits of the Green Sandpiper. — That the Green Sandpiper, Totanus 
ochropus, occasionally winters in this country is well known to most 
ornithologists. The reason for its not doing so more frequently seems 
in no way connected with the severity of our climate or the scarcity of 
food, as the following notes will show. In December, 1885, the Green 
Sandpiper was quite plentiful on most of our " becks " and drains, though 
we had several days of severe frost early in the month. Throughout the 
great snow storm which commenced on March 1st, 1886, a few remained in 
the district up to the middle of the mouth. Last summer they arrived 
rather later than usual, — I saw the first on July 27th, — but were very 
abundant about the middle of August. On the 23rd of that month 
I flushed over a dozen from our stream in a distance of less than a mile, 
and they have been by no means uncommon up to the present time. On 
the night of December 1st a thermometer placed on the ground showed 
twelve degrees of frost; on December 2nd, twenty-one degrees; and on 
December 3rd, nine degrees; yet the Green Sandpipers remained, and 


appeared perfectly at home and comfortable. Again, from the 17th of 
December to the 7th of January the frost continued with very little 
intermission and some heavy falls of snow, but the Green Sandpipers 
seemed totally unaffected by it, not even losing their customary wildness, 
and generally flying a long distance when disturbed. I seldom shoot these 
birds, but those 1 have examined, killed in winter, were always in good 
condition. The Snipe apparently felt the recent long-continued frost 
much more than the Green Sandpipers, those I killed being in very poor 
condition. They lay exceedingly close, and when flushed only flew a short 
distance slowly and heavily, off"ering the easiest of shots. — G. H. Caton 
Haigh (Grainsby Hall, Great Grimsby). 

Crossbills at Rynn, Rosenallis, Queen's County. — On Sept. 23rd 
a flock of Crossbills visited a belt of spruce-fir trees near the house, perching 
on tiie fir-cones and pecking out the seeds, twittering and throwing down 
the cones in numbers. On Sept. 24th Mr. Croasdaile shot three out of the 
flock, one reddish cock with a fine large bill, one yellowish cock, and a hen ; 
the two cocks were sent to Messrs. Wilhams, Dame Street, Dublin, to be 
stuffed. Many of them broke off the cones from the branches, and carrying 
them close to the stem of the tree pecked out the seeds there. They kept 
up a constant twittering and chirping, and sometimes one of the cock birds 
would sing a short song from the top of a spruce. They had young ones 
with them, which they fed while perched on the branches of the firs, and 
were still at Kyme on October 30th. — Anna Croasdaile (Ryme, Queen's 

Little Bustard in Sussex. — A fine specimen of the Little Bustard, 
Otis tetrax, was shot in a turnip-field by Mr. Coote, at Clymping, near 
Arundel, Sussex, in October last. Photographs have been obligingly 
forwarded me by Mr. Hobgen, of Chichester, placing the identity of the 
species beyond a doubt. It has been well preserved by Mr. Henry George, 
taxidermist, of that town. — Percy E. Coombk (23, Carlyle Square, S.W.). 

Varieties of Common Wild Ducks. — Two very beautiful varieties 
(duck and mallard) of the Common Wild Duck were caught last December 
in the decoy at Park Hall. The mallard had the head and neck white, 
a green patch under each eye and one or two on the back of the head ; 
back white, with a band of dark grey between wings ; wing-coverts grey- 
bro\vn ; wings white ; tail with two white curled feathers, the others of the 
normal colour: thighs salmon-colour; breast white, crossed with a band of 
a salmon-grey colour. The duck was a pale slate-colour, each feather edged 
with bright chestnut; the wings dark slate-colour, with the speculum very 
pale grey, edged with white at the top. — J. Whitakkr (Rainworth Lodge, 
near Mansfield, Notts. j. 



Thrush nesting on the Ground. — On the 13th May I saw four 
Thrush's eggs in a slight depression on the ground under a hedge, with no 
nest except a lew oak-leaves. The eggs were quite warm ; and so they were 
three days later, when I saw the bird fly from them. I did not take any, 
because I wanted to give them every chance of being hatched; but on 
the 18th they had disappeared. — F. H. IIirley (Dorman's Land, East 

Plumage of the Tufted Duck. — When passing through the Metro- 
politan Market on January 15th I found to my surprise a male Tufted 
Duck, Fuligida cristata, in which the forehead was sprinkled with white 
feathers. The late Mr. Yarrell recorded a female Tufted Duck, in which 
the forehead was "speckled with white like the adult female of the Scaup." 
I examined two female Tufted Ducks at Lewes in which the forehead was 
white ; these birds were known to be eight years old. An adult female 
living in the collection of the Zoological Society at present has likewise 
this variation ; but I am not aware that the male Tufted Duck has been 
recorded to exhibit this Scaup-like tendency. Since the foregoing was 
written, Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun., has pointed out to me that the assumption 
of a white forehead by the Tufted Duck is not necessarily a sign of old age, 
since " there is a very young Tufted Duck in the Wolley Collection at the 
Norwich Museum, which has a white face." Mr. Gurney adds that a female 
Tufted Duck in his collection, shot on August 8th, shows a trace of the white 
forehead. Perhaps Mr. Whitaker, whose opportunities for studying the 
Tufted Duck have been so exceptional, may be able to throw further light 
upon this point. — H. A. Macpherson. 

Plumage of the Kestrel.— In ' The Zoologist' for 1883, p. 496, I com- 
municated the result of some observations made by my brother and myself 
on the plumage of the young Kestrel, and it was there implied that the tail 
of the adult female was rufous with dark bars ; this I find is not exactly 
correct. Since the above note was written I have obtained two specimens, 
both females by dissection, in which the tail has a strong tinge of blue. 
One specimen has the upper tail-coverts blue, with a faint tinge of the 
same colour on the tail, the other has the tail so decidedly washed with 
blue that the ground colour might be called blue rather than rufous, 
although there is still a rufous shade. In both birds the tail is barred in 
the character of the younger and rufous-tailed female, instead of having the 
upper aspect clear blue, with the exception of a broad subterminal dark 
band as in the adult male. I may add that the dark bars on the tail of the 
adult male are only seen when the feathers are spread or reversed ; they 
exist on the inner webs only, and gradually disappear with age. In a very 
old pale specimen in my possession these dark markings are obsolete in 
some of the feathers, and appear in the shape of spots in others. To return 
to the adult female: in my opinion fully adult birds always possess more 


or less blue upon the upper tail-coverts and the tail, and I am unable to 
agree with Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun., who, in the 'Transactions of the 
Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society ' (vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 155), refers to 
some examples of female Kestrels showing more or less blue colouring, and 
treats them as instances of the females assuming male dress. T think the 
bird mentioned by the Rev. H. T. Frere in 'The Zoologist' for 1886 
(p 180), and described as "a young male in immature (female) plumage, 
with the exception of a few blue feathers on the upper tail-coverts," was 
really (unless actually sexed) the female bird of the pair, a very old bird 
in the adult bluish dress, and not a second male paired to the female 
belonging to the nest in two hours, as he suggests. With regard to 
Mr. Cecil Smith's remarks, in ' The Zoologist' for 1886 (p 1 10), I would 
submit that his No. 1 is (unless actually sexed) not a male at all, but an 
example of the fully adult female. In addition to the evidence of the 
colour and markings of the tail, Mr. Smith's description of the tail-coverts 
being "distinctly barred with dark brown," and " the feathers on the breast 
and rest of the upper parts" having " broad patches of dark brown towards 
the tip, and also dark brown bars nearer the body," all tend to this 
conclusion. — F. C. Aplin (Bloxham, near Banbury, Oxon). 

Supposed assumption of Male Plumage by a Female Kestrel. — 

If the Kestrel mentioned by the Rev. H. T. Frere (Zool. 1886, p. 180) was 
not dissected, and if it was judged to be a male because it had blue feathers 
on the upper tail-coverts, this affords no proof that such was the case ; for 
it is by no means uncommon for the female Kestrel to assume this colour. 
The specimen No. 8 described by Mr. Cecil Smith {torn. cit. p. 112) is a 
case in point. — J. H. Gurney, Jun. (Northrepps, Norwich). 

Hybrid Finches. — At the recent Crystal Palace Cage-Bird Show 
(Feb. 12th to 17th) an unusual number of hybrid finches were exhibited. 
Of course the usual mules between Goldfinch, Linnet, and Canary were 
common enough, but besides these there were fifteen Siskin-Canary, one 
Redpoll-Canary, and one Bullfinch-Canary mules, the last two being very 
rarely seen. There were also the following hybrids between other finches, 
viz.: — one Greenfinch-Linnet, one Greenfinch-Goldfinch, one Linnet-Bull- 
finch, one Linnet-Goldfinch, five Goldfinch-Bullfinch, one Redpoll-Bullfinch, 
and one Redpoll-Linnet. In this list the male bird is in every case placed 
first. Tlie most beautiful of these hybrids was the Goldfinch-Bullfinch, 
the colours and the shape of the bill of each species being completely 
blended. It is apparently not difficult to obtain such hybrids, for some 
have been exhibited at every show for many years. To my mind the most 
remarkable bird at the recent show was the Redpoll-Bullfinch, the disparity 
in size of the parents being so great. I do not doubt that all the above 
named were bred as described, but there was a bird shown as a Siskin- 



Greenfiuch which appeared to rae to be a Cape Canary, Serinus canicollis, 
and as the specimen of that species taken at Brighton (see Zool. for, 
February, p. 72) was also exhibited by Mr. Swaysland, I was enabled to 
make a miunte comparison between the two, and Mr. Swaysland concurred 
in my view. I would not, however, put forward this opinion too positively, 
for I have seen an undoubted hybrid between a Redpoll and Linnet so 
closely resembling the Twite that it could scarcely be distinguished from 
that species, and had I not known the person who bred it (Mr. J. H. Verrall, 
of Lewes), 1 could scarcely have been convinced that such was not the case ; 
indeed I believe that if the bird had been taken wild it would certahily have 
been regarded as a Twite. — J. Jknner Weir (Beckenhara, Kent). 

[A hybrid between male Redpoll and female Bullfinch is noticed by Rev. 
H. A. Macpherson (Zool. 1883, p. 504), where mention is also made of 
hybrids between Goldfinch and Bullfinch, Bullfinch and Linnet, Linnet and 
Lesser Redpoll, Goldfinch and Siskin, and Bullfinch and Goldfinch. — Ed.] 

White's Thrush in the Scilly Islands.— Early in December last 
the butler of Mr. Dorien-Smith killed at Tresco, Scilly, a bird which he 
tiiought to be a large Missel Thrush. Fortunately be showed it to 
Mr. Smith, who at once sent it on to Mr. W. H. Vingoe, of this place, 
with whom I saw it. It is unmistakably a specimen of " White's Thrush," 
of the ordinary size and plumage. — Thomas Cornish (Penzance). 


Scabbard Fish on the Cornish Coast. — Early in this month 
Mr. Fortescue Millett obtained from the sea-shore near Marazion the head 
and part of the body of a Scabbard Fish, Lepidopiis argyreus, washed 
ashore. He kindly showed it to me, and I have no doubt that its 
identification is correct. I believe that this is the first recorded 
occurrence of this fish in Mount's Bay. — Thomas Cornish (Penzance). 

[This fish was first described as British by Montagu (Mem. Wern. Soc. 
i. p. 83, pis. 2, 3), from a specimen obtained in Salcombe Harbour, Devon. 
We believe it has only been met with on the south coast of England. — Ed.] 


Muscular Power of Snails.— Seeing the remarks on the wonderful 
strength of snails (Zool. 1886, p. 491) reminds me of what came under my 
observation many years ago, of which a note was made and a sketch taken. 
On the 7th of April, at 9 a.m. (ther. 46°), I noticed a cluster of hyberuating 
Snails, Helix aspersa, that had taken up their quarters in a rough garden- 
wall ; two or three of those near the opening had slightly relaxed their 
hold since the previous day. On the 9th, at 9 a.m.. I found one on the 
move ; there had been rain during the night, and the thermometer had 
riseu to 60°. Later in the day a Snail was observed coming out with oue 


tightly adhering to its shell, seemingly not much hindered or retarded by 
it till it began to ascend the face of the wall, where a slight twig barred 
the way, which the burdened Snail could neither get under nor over. After 
a close inspection of the obstacle and its surroundings it began to creep up 
the slender twig, which was gradually enveloped and good progress made 
till a projecting ledge had been reached, to surmount which it had to relax 
Its hold of a part of the twig, causing the pendant load to oscillate and 
drag away the greater part of the body, which, drawn out to great length, 
swung to and fro like a pendulum. How this mishap was to be got over 
I was at a loss to imagine, and momentarily expected to see the Snail come 
toppling down, but it held on tenaciously, and ere long began to contract 
its attenuated body till, bit by bit, it had regained its hold of the stem, and ere 
night had succeeded in overcoming all obstacles. But for this marvellous 
muscular power many Snails might perish, seeing that the first which 
revive have to tear themselves away from the agglutinated mass, and are 
not unfrequently heavily laden as described.— Henry Hadfield (Ventnor, 
Isle of Wight). j; 

Marine Mollusca of Kerry.— In the last volume of 'The Zoologist' 
(p. 418) I described the various forms of inland Mollusca sent to me 
by the Eev. A. H. Delap from the neighbourhood of Valentia, and now 
proceed to give some account of the marine species collected, which are 
both numerous and interesting. Most of the species were taken in Valentia 
Harbour, and the following is a list of those from that locality : — Anomia 
ephippium, A. patelliformis, Pecten variiis, P. maximus, P. opercularis, 
P. pusio, Modiolaria dlscors, M. marmorata, Area tetragona (curiously 
worn and distorted by the rocks, as described in ' British Conchology '), 
TelUna tenuis and var. alba, T. balthica and var. citrina, T. squalida, 
Psammobiaferroensis {siui var. pallida, without the pink rays), P. tellinella, 
Vinus ovata, V. gallina, F. verrucosa, Axinus Jiexuosus, Mactra subtmncata, 
Saxicava rugosa var. pholadis, Mya truncata, M. binghami, Cardium 
echinatum, C. nodosum, Helcion pellucidum, Trochus umbilicatus, T. cine- 
rarius, T. tumidus, T. magus, T. zizyphinus, Lacuna divaricata and var. 
quadri/asciata, Mont., Littorina obtusata var. lutea, L. rudis, small varieties, 
one, pallidula, 10^ mill, long, pale yellowish, and not strongly ribbed, and 
two forms of y&r. jugosa, Mont., — rubra, entirely red, and albagrisea, whitish 
grey, with a white band below the periphery and a white base. Rissoa 
membranacea, R. parva, type form. Pi. striata, Odostomia lactea, Natica 
alderi, Scalaria communis, Nassa reticulata, N. incrassata, Murex erinaceus, 
Aporrhdis pes-pelecani, Dejrancia purpurea, var. deep chocolate-brown, 
variegated with white, Pleurotoma costata, Cerithium reticulatum, Cypraa 
europaa (of two forms, typica, pale brownish or pinkish, with or without 
brown spots, and an ash-coloured variety, spotless or with black spots). 
Scaphander lignarius, and Acera bullata. Accompanying the above, also 


from Valentia Harbour, dredged in six fathoms, was some foraminiferous 
mud. This has been carefully examined by Mr. C. D. Sherborn, who 
reports the following species : — Lagena sulcata, W. & J. var., L. lavis, Will., 
Truncatulina lobatula, Mont., Rotalia becearii, Linn., MilioUna oblomja, 
Mont., PolystomeUa crispa, Linn., P. striatopunctata, J. & M., and a species 
oi Bulimina. Some very interesting forms of Purpura lapillus were sent 
from Donlus Head. In shape and size they agree with Jeffreys' var. minor, 
and as regards colour may he divided into three races — a. nigra, brown- 
black ; b. bizona, similar, but with two pale brown bands; and c. lineolata, 
pale yellowish with three white bands and numerous dark brown spiral 
lines. Bally-ua-Skellig Bay yielded Kellia suborbicularis and Helcion pellu- 
cidum var. lavis, specimens of the latter being beautifully iridescent with 
purple inside. Finne Strand was the locality of specimens of Acteeon 
tornatilis and Donax viUatiis sent; and from Darrynane Strand were sent 
Corbula gibba, and Phasianella pullus of five varieties — a. millepunctata, 
regularly and minutely spotted with pink ; b, cinereolineata, with brown- 
band and some rather ill-marked grey, closely set interrupted lines ; 
c. interrupta, with a dark interrupted lines ; and two other less marked 
forms. This completes the list of Kerry shells sent by Mr. Delap, 
and though necessarily incomplete it is of some interest as a con- 
tribution to the fauna of a little-worked district, and more especially 
for comparison with other local lists, and its bearing upon the question 
of geographical distribution. It is to be hoped that before long 
we shall know in some detail the local distribution of our marine fauna, but 
at present the materials are far too scanty to form any definite conclusions 
or for any considerable generalizations. With the Kerry collection were 
three species from DonQg&\ — Spirula peronii, Lam. {S. australis, Brug.) 
from Maghery Strand, and Fissurella graca (a small depressed form, 
perhaps var. ima, De Greg.), and Emarginulajissura from Rutland Island. — 
T. D. A. CoGKERELL (Bedford Park, Chiswick). 


Inachus dorynchus at Penzance. — On February 17th I obtained 
from the stomach of a codfish, caught in Mount's Bay, five specimens of 
Inachus dorynchus, one a large male measuring fourteen-sixteenths of an 
inch on the lengthwise of the carapace, and the others (females) much 
smaller, and all bearing berry. They were all more or less covered with 
sponges, Fuci, and small corallines. In the male the rostrum was obscurely 
bifid, but in all the females it was distinctly so. In all of them the colour 
was reddish brown, and in each the fingers were marked by transverse 
darker coloured bars. The specimens were perfectly fit for observation, 
but too far gone for preservation. — Thomas Cornish (Penzance). 

[For a figure of this species see Bell, ' British Slalk-eyed Crustacea,' 
p. 16.— Ed.] 

( 117 ) 

LiNKEAN Society of London. 

February 3, 1887.— William Cakruthers, F.R.S., President, in the 

Dr. Michael C. Grabham (Oporto) and Capt. Wingate (Cashmere) were 
elected Fellows of the Society. 

Mr. W. Simpson exhibited a series of sketches of the Afghan Boundary, 
as illustrative of the region traversed by the Delimitation Commission. 

An important paper on the Fauna and Flora of the Afghan Boundary, 
by Brigade-Surgeon J. E. T. Aitchison, CLE., was read and discussed. 
Among the speakers who took part in the discussion were Sir J. D. Hooker, 
Dr. Giinther, Mr. G. A. Boulenger, Dr. P. L. Sclater, Mr. W. T. Blanford, 
Mr. 0. Thomas, Sir J. Fayrer, Mr. K. Bowdler Sharpe, Mr. Howard 
Saunders, Mr. C. 0. Waterhouse, and others. The following is the author's 
summary of the zoological collections: — Nineteen species of mammals, 
belonging to fifteen genera, were collected, and other species belonging to 
three genera were seen. Perhaps the most interesting, as being the least 
known, was Ellobius fuscicapillus, the type of which was originally obtained 
many years ago near Quetta. The geographical range of the Tiger, Felis 
tigris, was now ascertained to include the district round Bala-Morchab, 
and that of the Cheetah, Felis jubata, as far as the valley of the Hari-rud ; 
while the Egyptian Fox, Vtdpes famelica, was obtained as far north and 
east as Kushk-rud, and Kin in the basin of the Harut river. As regards 
birds, 123 species belonging to some eighty-four genera were collected, 
while fourteen other species were identified, though not preserved. Two 
new species only were procured, viz. a Fhea.sant, Phasianus 2}rincipalis, 
and a Woodpecker, Gecinus Gorii. The birds in Afghanistan are chiefly 
migratory, with the exception of the above new Pheasant, the Raven, Rook, 
Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Sparrow, Starling, Sky Lark, Crested Lark, 
Bokhara Lark, Melanocori/pha bimaculata, Wall Creeper, Tichodroma 
muraria, Bittern, Botaurus stall aris, several Raptores, Sand Grouse, Pterocles 
arenarius, and Red-legged Partridge, Caccabis chukar. As spring advances 
birds are seen to arrive, following each other rapidly, such as Aedon fami- 
liaris, and various species of Sylvia, Saxicola, Lanius, MotaciUa, Pastor, 
Merops, and Coracias. Various ducks then leave the country, but the Brah- 
miny Duck or Ruddy Sheldrake, Casarca rutila, remains throughout the 
year and breeds there. The greater number of the species met with belong 
to tlie genera Saxicola (8), Lanius (6), Sylvia (5 1, MotaciUa (a ), and Emberiza 
(4). Of Reptilia thirty-five species were collected — a Tortoise and twenty- 
one species of Lizards, of which three are new ; of Ophidians thirteen 
species, one of which is new ; also adult examples of I\aia oxiana, which 


heretofore has only been recognised from young specimens. Of Batrachia 
two specimens were obtained, viz. Rana esculenta and Bufo viridis, and on 
the latter a Leech, Aulostoma gulo, was found. Circumstances prevented 
more than seven species of fish from being procured ; these proved to belong 
to six genera : two of these species are new to science. Schizothorax inter- 
medins is interesting, as it was found by GrifiBth in the Cabul river, an affluent 
of the Indus. In the great eastern drainage of East Turkestan it was found 
at Youngsi-Hirsar by the second Yarkand Mission. The new species of 
Schizothorax was only met with in the Hari-rud and its tributaries. Over 
one hundred species of insects were collected, of which twenty prove 
new. The greater number of them are typical of the Arabian, North 
African, and Mediterranean faunas; a few only have Indian and Central 
Asian affinities. It was observed that the Lepidoptera generally appeared 
at irregular intervals, only when there was perfect stillness in the air, and 
then in limited numbers. 

February 17. 1887. — The only zoological paper read at this meeting 
was by Dr. Hoek, of Leiden, " On Dichelaspis pellucida, Darwin, from the 
scales of an Hydrophid obtained at the Mergui Archipelago by Dr. John 
Anderson." As far as the author's knowledge goes, this species of Cirri- 
pede has not been observed since Darwin published his description from 
specimens procured in the Indian Ocean and also from a sea-snake. It 
seems that although somewhat larger in dimensions, and with other slight 
variations which may be due to difference of age, there can be little doubt 
of the identity of the Mergui specimens with Darwin's D. pellucida {Monogr. 
Cirriped. i. p. 125). — J. Mueie. 

Zoological Society of London. 

February 1, 1887.— Dr. St. George Mivart, f .R.S., Vice-President, 
in the chair. 

Mr. F. Day exhibited and made remarks on a hybrid fish supposed 
to be between the Pilchard and the Herring, and a specimen of Salmo 
purpuratus reared in this country. 

Mr. W. L. Sclater exhibited and made remarks upon some specimens 
of a species of Peripatus which he had obtained in British Guiana during 
a recent visit to that country, and added some general observations on the 
distribution and affinities of this singular form of Arthropod. 

Mr A. Thomson read a report on the insects bred in the Society's Insect 
House during the past season, and exhibited the insects referred to. 

A communication was read from Dr. B. C. A. Windle, containing an 
account of the anatomy of Hydromys chrysogaster. 

Mr. Martin Jacoby read a paper containing an account of the Pliyto- 


phagous Coleoptera obtained by Mr. G. Lewis in Ceylon during the years 
1881, 1882. About 150 new species were described and many new 
generic forms. 

Mr. F. E. Beddard read some notes on a specimen of a rare American 
Monkey, Brachyurus calvus, which had died in the Society's Gardens. 

Mr. Oldfield Thomas read a note on the Mammals obtained by Mr. H. H. 
Johnston on the Caraaroons Mountain. 

A paper was read by Capt. Shelley, containing an account of the birds 
collected by Mr. H. H. Johnston on the Camaroons Mountain. The 
collection contained thirty-six specimens referable to eighteen species, and 
of these four were new to science. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger read a list of the Reptiles collected by Mr. H. H. 
Johnston during his recent visit to the Camaroons Mountain. 

Mr. Edgar A. Smith read a paper on the Mollusca co lected at the 
Camaroons Mountain by Mr. H. H. Johnston, and gave the description of 
a new species of Gihhus, proposed to be called Gibbus johnstoni, of which 
specimens were in the collection. 

A communication was read from Mr. Charles 0. Waterhouse, containing 
a list of some coleopterous insects collected by Mr. H. H. Johnston on the 
Camaroons Mountain. — P. L. Sclater, Secretary. 

Entomological Society of London. 

February 2, 1887. — Dr. D. Sharp, President, in the chair. 

The President nominated Mr. Robert M'Lachlan, F.U.S., Mr. Osbert 
Salvin, M.A., F.R.S., and Mr. Henry T. Staintou, F.R.S., Vice-Presidents 
during the Session 1887-1888. 

The Rev. W. J. Holland, M. A., of Pittsburgh, United States ; Dr. F. A. 
Dixey, M.A., Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford ; Mr. C. J. Gahaii, M.A., 
of Bromptoii, S.W. ; and Mr. Sydney Klein, F.R.A.S., of Willesden, N.W. ; 
were elected Fellows. 

Mr. P. Crowley exhibited a new species of Synchloe — S. Johnstoni — 
from Kilima-ujaro; also, for comparison, specimens of Synchloe mesentin a 
and S. hellica, which the new species closely resembled. 

Mr. W. White exhibited a number of preserved larvae of European 
Lcpidoptera in various stages of growth, — including nine examples each 
of Salurnia carpini and Deilephila euphorbm, — illustrating the gradual 
development of the markings and colours, as explained by Prof. Weismann, 
in his ' Studies in the Theory of Descent.' 

Mr. Gervase F. Mathew exhibited a variety of a female of Lycana 
telicanus, from the neighbourhood of Gallipoli, Turkey : also some specimens 
of a Lycana from Vigo, believed to be varieties of Lycana baton, but 
differing from the type in being much larger and darker. He further 


exhibited several examples of a Leucophasia from Vigo, which appeared 
to be identical with L. astiva (Staud.). 

Mr. Porritt exhibited, on behalf of Mr. N. F. Dobree, a series of a 
remarkable red form of Tceniocampa gracilis, bred last season from larvae 
collected in Hampshire. 

Mr. Eland Shaw exhibited specimens of Pachytylus cinerascens (Fab.), 
Mecostethus grossus (Linne) and Gryllus flavipes (Grael.), and read a " Note 
on the Identity of Gryllus (Locusta) Jiavipes, Gmel." 

The Secretary read a communication from Prof. Riley, of Washington, 
on the subject of the "Australian Bug" (Icerya purchasi). It was stated 
that the insect had of late years become very destructive to various trees and 
shrubs in California, into which country, as well as into Now Zealand and 
Cape Colony, it had been introduced from Australia, where it was believed 
to be indigenous ; but on this point further evidence was asked for. 

The Rev. T. A. Marshall communicated " A Monograph of the British 
Braconidse," Part 2, being a continuation from Part 1 of the 'Transactions' 
for 1885. 

Mr. Francis P. Pascoe read a paper entitled " Descriptions of some new 
species of Brachy cents." 

Mr. Francis Galton, F.R.S., read a paper on " Pedigree Moth-breeding 
as a means of verifying certain important Constants in the General 
Theory of Heredity." In this paper Mr. Galton suggested the institution 
of a system of experimental breedings, to be continued for several years, 
with the object of procuring evidence as to the precise measure of the 
diminution of the rate at which a divergence from the average of the race 
proceeds in successive generations of continually selected animals. 

Mr. Fredeiic Merrifield read a paper (by way of an appendix to 
Mr. Gallon's paper) entitled "A proposed method of breeding Selenia 
illustraria, with the object of obtaining data for Mr. Galton." 

Mr. M'Lachlan said he considered the fact that S. illustraria was 
dimorphic an objection to its selection for the experiments proposed, 
and he suggested that the Common Silkworm Moth, or some other large 
Bombyces, would be more suitable for Mr. Galton 's purposes. 

Prof. Meldola called attention to some observations on Selenia illustraria 
by Dr. Knaggs, in vol. iii. of the Ent. Mo. Mag., which had some bearing 
on the projected experiments; and he remarked that although, for some 
reasons, the species selected was well adapted for testing Mr. Galton 's 
conclusions, he believed that the fact of the moth being seasonally 
dimorphic was likely to introduce disturbing elements into the experiments 
which might influence the results. 

The discussion was continued by Dr. Sharp, Messrs. Baly, Kirby, 
White, Klein, Porritt, Dunning, Waterhouse, Bates, Merrifield, Galton, 
and others. — H. Goss, Hon. Secretary. 




Vol. XL] APRIL, 1887. [No. J 24. 


IN 1886. 

By Robert Gray. 
(Concluded from p. 100.) 

June 28th. The wind prevailing from the south-eastward, 
with a heavy and continual swell. La dense and incessant fog 
we have been feeling our way south-westwards along the pack- 
edge : the dreadful roar of the swell amongst the ice, which 
could be heard at a distance of about six miles, gave us timely 
warning of its proximity on more than one occasion. Passed 
several pieces of drift-wood, one piece being of deal, the others 
parts of trees. At eight o'clock the ship nearly ran down three 
young Saddle Seals lying asleep ; they were all lying heading to 
leeward, and as they rose and fell on the bosom of the southerly 
swell the wavelets washed freely over them. Lying on their 
backs, with their breasts just awash, and only about two inches of 
their noses above water, respiration did not appear to be going on. 

July 2nd. While running S.W. along the ice-edge we came 
to a strip of oily water, with a number of birds sitting around it. 
A boat was lowered down, and a large flat fish was found lying 
dead at the surface. It was not brought on broad, but appeared 
to be about three feet long, and the boat's crew said that it was 
a Halibut. Shannon Island in sight, bearing W.N.W., distant 
about sixty miles. 

July 3rd. A most beautiful day ; not a cloud in the sky, 
the sea as smooth as glass. The sun being very bright during 



the afternoon, the thermometer rose to 50° in the shade, the 
highest temperature recorded during the voyage north of lat. 70°. 
In the evening, water was discovered over the ice to the S.W., 
and, after a few hours' boring through close pack, we entered 
wide water surrounded on all sides by ice. A few large Finners 
{B. sihhalclii) seen pla3'ing about in the morning. 

July 4th. Lay about becalmed all day in our " polynia," 
clear, cloudless, and warm. The water, although clear and 
cerulean, contained a fair quantity of Avhales' food. Narwhals 
were very numerous, lying about at the surface in almost every 
direction, the sunshine glistening on their backs. Three were 
killed,* and one was lost. I found their stomachs and intestines 
on this, as on every other occasion I have examined them, to 
contain nothing but the undigested portions of a small species of 
cephelapod, principally the hard mandibles and eyes.t Floe-rats 
also numerous, most of them lying asleep on very small pieces 
of ice ; many of them, with their bodies firm and rigid, their 
hind flippers clasped together, were lying on one side, supported 
only at a single point, a somewhat unstable and curious attitude 
of repose. Mallemokes, especially the white kind, numerous ; 
also a few other birds. Looms, Botches, Dovekies, a solitary 
Arctic Puffin, Snow-birds, a few Skuas, and several Arctic Terns. 

July 5th. Narwhals very numerous ; the males, easily 
distinguished by their horns, were lying about sunning them- 
selves at the surface ; the females, with their young, keeping by 
themselves, were generally seen swimming about. 

July 7th. Our " polynia," at first circular and circumscribed, 
had now become continuous with the open sea to the N.E., and 
had extended itself many miles to the S.W. along the edge of 
the fast ice. At the bottom of this great cid de sac we found the 
water clear and blue, with a general absence of life. An 
occasional Finner, B. sibbaldii, however, was seen coming from 
the S.W., and, passing us, would continue its way to the N.E. 
While sitting in the " crow's-nest" several passed within a short 
distance of the ship, and, the water being smooth and very clear, I 
enjoj^ed a rare opportunity of watching their movements while 

■'•■ A few measiiremeuts obtained will be found appended. 

I One entire specimen was obtained. Tlirougli the kindness of Mr. Sidney 
F. Harmer, of King's College, Cambridge, it was submitted to Mr. "W. E. 
Hoyle, who had no hesitation in referring it to Gonatus Fabricii (Licht.). 


under water. In whaler's parlance, the Finners were " span- 
ning," i.e., appearing at regular intervals, and swimming in a 
decided direction. Watch in hand, I found them to remain 
under water from eight to ten minutes, and to remain at the 
surface every time they came up to breathe from thirty to sixty 
seconds ; their speed I estimated at about five miles per hour. 
It is commonly believed, if I mistake not, that during progression 
the body of the Whale describes a succession of short curves, 
each answering to every stroke of the tail. No such acrobatic 
feat is performed; the hinder part of the body and the fin 
thereto attached are alone in motion, slowly but regularly, and 
decidedly, and only in a vertical direction ; along the resultant in 
a direct and undeviating manner the body advances forward. 
The pectoral hmbs thus freed of their share of locomotion are 
at liberty to act in guiding the animal, or to serve any other 
function for which they may be adapted. The Finners I was 
watching were never many feet imder water; they could be 
easily followed from the moment they left the surface until they 
again rose to breathe, the eye being greatly assisted by a peculiar 
whitish — perhaps phosphorescent — appearance their bodies as- 
sumed while under water. To cause them to rise to the surface 
the great pectoral fins were slowly extended, then perhaps being 
rotated on their axis ; the water through which they were moving 
was thus caused to strike obliquely on their surface, — hence the 
anterior portion of the body, being thus raised upward, the force 
resulting from the action of the caudal fin was obviously caused 
to act at an angle on the axis of the body, and the animal, as it 
advanced forward, gradually approached the surface. As soon 
apparently as the power exerted by the muscles of expiration 
was sufficient to overcome the weight of the supercumbent 
water respiration took place, and before the animal's head was 
above the surface a column of breath was projected vertically 
upward to a height of about fifty feet. Inspiration then followed, 
and just before the animal left the surface close scrutiny could 
detect a secondary puft' containing but little moisture, and rising 
only to the height of a few feet. As to this second act of expira- 
tion, a few words : I believe that in the cetaceans, respiration 
being effected, the lungs in their function become hydrostatic. It 
is obvious that to facilitate submarine progression the specific 
gravity of the body must be equal to that of the surroundiu.'- 



medium. Now it is well known that, owing apparently to the pau- 
city of bhibber, the body of B. sibhaldii, immediately after death, 
has a decided tendency to sink. Consequently, a sufficient quantity 
of air must be retained in the lungs during life to establish the 
necessary equihbrium. This quantity of air is, I think, exactly 
represented by the amount exj^ired on the animal's appearance 
at the surface in the manner described ; it is replaced necessarily 
during respiration by the quantity of air inspired, but on this 
occasion exceeded by the amount expired during the second puff ; 
the latter operation being, therefore, the act of re-establishing 
equilibrium between the weight of the body and the amount of 
water it displaced. Of course, if the animal should have 
occasion to reduce its power of flotation below equilibrium the 
second puff will necessarily be greater, or if, on the other hand, 
it should be in somewhat poor condition, the second puff will 
become unnecessary, all the air retained in the lungs being 
necessary to establish equilibrium. Meanwhile the body had 
showed itself above water, the head broad and flattened, the 
shoulders abrupt and noticeable; the back broad and flat in 
front, narrow and sharp behind, surmounted by a small and 
insignificant fin, situated far back just in front of the tail, 
which latter did not appear above the surface. As these parts 
each in succession appeared and passed in review, to the eye 
their lines, interrupted and uneven, wanted those soft and gentle 
curves which lend a beauty and a grace to the slower but more 
majestic movements of the Eight Whale. 

The situation and condition of the ice rendering it apparent 
that the South Greenland whaling would be a failure on the 8th, 
we proceeded north-eastwards towards the open sea, turned the 
point of ice which we had been to the westward of on the 10th, 
and the same day we spoke the ' Hope ' and * Earl of Mar and 
Kellie,' thereafter proceeded eastwards bound for the Barentz Sea. 

In the year 1880 Mr. Leigh Smith, in his yacht, the ' Eira,' 
had seen two Eight Whales in one of the bays of Franz Joseph 
Land during the month of August. There being, therefore, a 
likelihood of finding whales amongst the ice in the offing, thither 
we were going to examine for ourselves the nature of the 
navigation, the state of the ice, and to endeavour to come to a 
conclusion whether the coast of Franz Joseph Land is accessible 
sufficiently early in the season to allow ships to reach it in time 


to devote at least two months to the object of their voyage 
before the commencement of the winter's frost, and the 
increasing severity of the weather should compel them to 
retreat to the southwards. 

While crossing the Spitzbergen water we found it con- 
tinually grass-green in colour from the ice-edge in long. 12'' W. 
lat. 73° 3' N. to long. 2° E. lat. 75° 30' N., a distance of 
some 220 miles ; thereafter its colour was not uniform, being 
either green, dark brown, or blue. Surface-life seemed equally 
abundant all the way. On the 10th, a minute Medusa, just 
visible to the naked eye, was most abundant ; and on the 
15th Limacina arctica was very numerous. B. sibbaldii was 
seen daily, in numbers ; but no other cetaceans were observed. 
On the 12th, in lat. 74° 38' N., long. 4° 36' W., we passed a solitary 
piece of ice, which, however, reminded us that the margin of the 
Greenland West Ice, now in this latitude 270 miles to the west- 
ward, was in this longitude on the 1st of May, showing that it had 
retreated westward at the rate of four miles daily since then. 

Passing some forty miles to the southward of Cape Look-out 
on the 15th we continued to steer eastwards ; the day following, 
however, we had to alter our course to the southward somewhat, 
clear of ice. A large "berg," fully 100 ft. high, was passed on 
the 17th. The same day a young Ground Seal, P. harhata, was 
noticed. Continuing to work our way to the eastward we 
experienced a succession of strong southerly gales, which, with a 
nasty short sea and very thick and almost continuous fog, made 
our work of tracing the edge of the ice somewhat hazardous, as 
well as disagreeable. On such occasions the thermometer is of 
the greatest service, and from its readings the proximity of ice 
may be very accurately estimated. Soundings were taken every 
two hours; the water in the Barentz Sea being very shallow, we 
got bottom generally from thirty to eighty fathoms. B, sibbaldii 
was seen once or twice on the 18th, also many Kittiwakes and a 
few Arctic Terns. We were favoured with a few hours of clear 
weather on the 18th : the ice to the northward was a close and 
impenetrable pack, as hard and tight as a season of continued 
southerly gales could well have made it ; the water very blue 
and clear, with an almost total absence of life of any kind. On 
the evening of the 19th a great many Saddle Seals were seen 
going eastwards along the ice-edge. Kittiwakes were very 


numerous, great numbers of them sitting on the hummocks ; 
one Polar Bear was seen. 

The day following having been led as far southward as the 
75° in long. 40° E., and the sky denoting the continuation of the 
ice still farther to the southward, it was not thought expedient 
to proceed farther, and the ship's head was accordingly turned 
westward, once more towards the Greenland ice. As to the 
hoi3e of the Barentz Sea ever becoming a whaling-ground, 
Capt. Gray, in his log, says : — " I am now fully convinced, from 
the quantity of ice lying east of Spitzbergen this year, that no 
open passage up or near to Franz Joseph Land is practicable. 
I am also convinced that Franz Joseph Land can only be 
reached in very exceptional seasons, and also that it can never 
be of any value as a resort of whalers, the passage to and 
from Franz Joseph Land being far too uncertain to allow 
whaling vessels to reach their cruising ground off the S.W. and 
N.W. coasts ; for, unless our ships can reach their cruising 
ground at least in nine seasons out of ten it would be impracticable 
— in short, incompatible with successful commercial enter- 
prise." That the Barentz Sea is not the resort of B. mysticetus 
is almost certain, the shallow water being perfectly imprac- 
ticable with its habits ; nevertheless, far removed from the open 
ocean as the shores of Franz Joseph Land are, the bays of 
its western coast may be annually visited by migrants from the 
Greenland Sea. 

On the 22nd Saddle Seals were very numerous ; a good many 
Looms and one flock of Brent Geese were also seen. At noon 
Hope Island bore N.W., distant about thirty miles ; a few 
" bergs " were passed in the evening. As on our passage 
eastward, so on our return journey across the Spitzbergen 
water, B. sibbaldii was seen daily, sometimes very numerous ; 
twenty or even more might have been counted blowing at one 
time on several occasions. But the observation I have here to 
make is that during the day few or none were to be seen, and 
that every night they were more or less numerous, always 
appearing to be in greatest numbers about 4 a.m. If, then, 
these cetaceans are nocturnal in their habits, where do they 
obtain rest during the day ? It may be said by some that 
B. mysticetus would be able to find a snug corner amongst the 
ice, where it would escape observation. Without admitting this, 


can the disappearance of B. sibhaldii and H. rostratus be 
explained otherwise than by their sleeping under water ? Why, 
of course, with just a small part of their heads above the sur- 
face, — incapable, although passive, of being disturbed by wave- 
motion, exceptions to the laws of hydrostatics, — they thus 
enjoy perfect rest, and those men who for their livelihood depend 
on their capture have seldom, if ever, been able to see them in 
this position. 

As to the northern distribution of B. sibhaldii* I should like 
to say a few words. It has already been shown that this whale 
may be seen in water little above freezing-point ; that it is seen 
in water under 32° Fahr. as frequently as in water of a warmer 
temj^erature. It may be safely assumed, therefore, that — other 
circumstances being favourable — Sibbald's Rorqual, insensible 
or indifferent to a few degrees of warmth, may extend its migra- 
tions as far to the northward as it is inclined ; like B. mijsticetus, 
it is therefore essentially a " cold-water whale." While passing 
over that part of the Spitzbergen Sea belonging to the North 
Greenland whaling-ground, already defined, the number of these 
whales seen daily reminded us that only a few weeks ago this 
part of the sea was covered with ice, and that Balcena mysticetus 
most probably occupied the ground. As in the early part of the 
season, so now also, the water was found to contain an abundance 
of Crustacea and Medusae, Calanus finmarckicus, as usual, being 
by far the most abundant. The question naturally suggested 
itself whether these minute forms of surface-life affording 
support to the Greenland Right Whale constitute also the food 
of these "tinners." It is certainly in accordance with the 
economy of Nature to suppose that as the ice breaks up and 
dissolves with the warmth of the summer sun, and Balcena 
mysticetus is enabled to advance northwards to occupy pastures 
new, some form of life will be provided to occupy the ground left 
vacant. The bulk of the two animals being nearly the same,t 

■■' See A. H. Cocks on " The Fiiiwhale Fishery on the Coast of Fin- 
luarken" (Zool. 1884, pp. 366, 417, 455). 

+ B. sibhaldii is admittedly the longer ; yet I venture to think what the 
Eight "Whale loses by its length it almost gains by its great girth ; and that 
the difference between the two in bulk is not so great as is generally 
supposed. The correct girth of a large whale is very difficult to ascertain, 
apart from the size of the animal, owing to the rapidity with which the body 


or, in other words, requiring about the same quantity of food for 
their support, it follows that, both being supplied with an 
apparatus of a similar nature for its capture, the draining power 
of the apparatus in both cases must be the same. Both are 
inoffensive, the Eight Whale depending on its diving powers for 
its survival, is short and robust, adapted to withstand a great 
pressure, and to remain a considerable length of time under 
water. Along with these powers, great speed is unnecessary, 
perhaps impossible. Accordingly we find this animal provided 
with a draining apparatus (if I may use a convenient expression) 
of enormous size, its baleen-plates of great length, slow in its 
movements, and sluggish in its habits. B. sihhaldii, on the con- 
trary, presents reverse characters, depending on its speed for its 
survival ; we find it an animal of exceeding length, flattened 
laterally, and greatly prolonged hindward — characters all calcu- 
lated to suggest speed. Witness also the great vertical strength 
of the rump, the draining apparatus necessarily small, and its 
baleen-plates short, swift in its movements, and active in its 
habits. Thus it becomes evident that, great as is the difference 
in length of the baleen-plates of B. mysticetus and B. sihhaldii, 
and consequently also in the size of their draining apparatus, 
this difference may be equalised by slowness of motion on the 
one hand, by swiftness on the other — in short, that the power 
of the draining apparatus of the one is about equal to that of 
the other. 

If, then, the above reasoning is correct, these two huge 
creatures, depending on the same source of food for their 
existence, differ from one another essentially only in one im- 

distends after death, a phenomenon to be accounted for apparently, m the 
first place, by the relaxion of the respiratory ninseles on the cessation of 
rigor mortis, and the conseqiient increase in the size of the chest thereafter, 
but mainly by the generation of gases. In the course of a few daj-s a 
Greenland Whale will resemble a balloon rather than a cetacean. One killed 
by Capt. Gray in the ' Active,' in the year 1866, was found to measure, only 
six days after being killed, 43 feet across the chest from tip to tip of the fins; 
the girth was most probably greater than the entire length of the animal 
(about 55 feet). Thus it is probable that the gi'eat girth (46 ft.) of the Finuer 
stranded at Longniddry was likewise largely owing to this latter cause, and 
that the girth, and consequently also the bulk, of Sibbald's Eorqual may 
have been somewhat over-estimated. 


portant point, viz. the mode of their survival. Both find it 
necessary to retire from the surface to obtain their food ; there- 
fore each must be able to exist in a state of activity for a longer 
or shorter period with the respiratory organs secluded from 
the atmosphere. Provision to permit this therefore becomes 
necessary, suited, however, to different requirements and circum- 
stances. In the first instance, we find that a large store of 
blood, and perhaps a sluggish circulation, are perfectly com- 
patible with the slowness of motion of the Greenland Eight 
Whale ; that this is the case we have only to regard the robust- 
ness of the animal and its clumsy appearance. In the second 
instance, however, a large store of blood, and necessarily also 
great bulk, are not compatible with the active habits and swift 
movements of the Blue Whale. Although undoubtedly the 
fullest possible advantage of this alternative is taken, yet if 
provision so obtained were alone inadequate, we should expect 
to find some other alternative taken advantage of to the extent 
required. If so, then some trace of this in the organization of 
the creature will be found. I allude, of course, to dermal 
respiration, the possibility of such playing the part required has 
only to be remembered to lead us to ex^^ect that sucb a simple 
and convenient means of eft'ecting her end would not be over- 
looked by stature. The numerous plicce along the under surface 
of the body, of which no reasonable explanation has yet been 
given, have evidently the function of increasing the surface of 
the skin exposed to the surrounding medium, and these are, 
I venture to think, simply an adaptation to the additional 
respiration carried on by the dermis, as rendered necessary by 
the circumstances already explained. 

Eegard now all the Whalebone Whales, and to them as a 
class apply the same argument. Living upon food of the same 
nature, all the members of this group agree in so far as they 
are supplied with a similar apparatus for its capture, viz. the 
characteristic baleen-plates. As we have already seen, however, 
some for their survival depend upon their ability to withstand 
pressure, others on their speed. Accordingly, as some belong 
to the former class and may be called " divers," others belong to 
the latter and may be called "non-divers ; " they differ from one 
another essentially only in the special characters rendered 
necessary. With the first group, the smooth whales (Balcenidce) 



correspond, with the second, the furrowed whales {Balcsno- 
pteridce). Finally, in relation to the size of the animal, 
according to the above argument, the length of the baleen-plates 
should be in accordance with the degree of activity characteristic 
of the particular species (or even individual) and the plicce or 
folds of the skin will necessarily be proportionately developed. 

In the following table I have arranged several of the different 
species of Whalebone Whales to which the foregoing observations 
apply, with their characters in relation to their size stated only 
generally. The conclusions arrived at with regard to the degree 
of activity of each species, I venture to think correspond 
sufficiently with our knowledge in regard thereto, as otherwise 
obtained, to establish the probability of this explanation of the 
mysterious plic<2 of the Fin Whales being correct. 


Length of 

Number of 

Degree of 




Balmia myxticelus . 

Very lonp;. 



,, biscaijensis . . 



Less sluggish. 

Monodon loiigiinana 




Balanoptera sibhaldil . 


More numerous. 

More active. 

„ musculus . 


Very numerous. 

Very active. 

„ rostrata . 

Very short. 



Reaching the West Ice on the 26th of July, the ice was 
found to be but little improved ; nevertheless, we immediately 
commenced cruising for whales. B. sibbalclii seen frequently, 
the Finners having now apparently obtained complete possession 
of the South Greenland whaling-ground. Narwhals, Floe-rats, 
and old Saddle Seals were very numerous ; an occasional 
Bladder-nose Seal (P. cristata) was also seen ; a few Bears were 
shot. The water was nearly always green in colour, but, strange 
to say, contained little or no food ; the tow-net might have 
towed an hour and more without collecting half the quantity it 
would have done in a few minutes in the early part of the season. 
Not so strange perhaps after all, for, like every other food-supply 
in Nature, these "lanks" most likely become exhausted towards 
the end of summer, and the winter's frost is necessary to enable 
them, to become restocked before the next spring. Diatoms 
were, of course, there, — perhaps this was their time of rest ; the 


grass on the fields, as it were, was growing, the pastures were 
becoming renewed before they should again be required to 
produce a vast quantity of minute creatures which would, in 
their turn, be called upon to support the huge whale. On 
August 1st I obtained a small fish* with bright golden scales 
swimming about at the surface of the water. On the 3rd a 
specimen of Buffon's Skua, S. longicaudatuSjf was obtained ; a 
good many others were also seen. 

August 5th. Bore up for Lerwick. While passing Jan 
Mayen, some fifty miles to the eastward, birds were numerous, 
Brent Geese, Botches, and Looms, — the latter with their young ; 
this was on the 8th. The day following. Botches were seen with 
their young, and one Humpback Whale, B. longimaria, was seen 
on the 9th. The first Gannet was noticed on the 13th. The 
same day a great school of Killer-whales, perhaps fifty in 
number, made their appearance on our lee-bow, and, passing 
underneath the ship, were again seen on our weather-quarter, 
continuing their course to the N.W. Birds were very numerous 
some fifty miles north of Lambaness,— Kittiwakes, Black-headed 
Gulls, Skuas, Mother Carey's Chickens, Gannets, Looms (?), 
and several times a strange bird was seen, quite unknown to 
me, but recognised immediately by several of our seamen as a 

Called at Lerwick on the 16tb, and, having landed the Shet- 
land portion of our crew, we proceeded to Peterhead, which we 
reached in due course. 

* This fish was brought home, and has been identified as Scopelus muleri 
by Dr. Day (see 'Nature,' Oct. 14th, 1886). 

f This specimen, as well as the Chimney Swift and Wheatear mentioned 
before, were brought home ; they are now in the hands of Mr. George Sim, 
A.L.S., Aberdeen, who confirms their identity. 



In the following Table (continued from p. 57) will be found 
the position of the s. s. ' Eclipse,' the surface temperature of 
the sea, and the temperature of air, at noon, on the different 
days on which any event of zoological interest is recorded as 
having occurred : — 


Ship's Position. 










June 5 . • . 


53 N. 

4 OE. 



„ 6 . . . 



2 19 E. 



„ 8 . . . 



1 16 E. 



„ 11 . . . 



1 54 E. 



„ 12 . . . 



3 OE. 



„ 13 . . . 



4 12 E. 



„ 19 . . . 






„ 21 . . . 



52 W. 



„ 24 . . . 



2 21 W. 



„ 25 . . . 



1 10 W. 



„ 28 . . . 



8 25 W. 



„ 30 . . . 



9 W. 



July 2 . . . 



13 13 W. 



„ 3 . . . 



14 52 W. 



„ 4 . . . 



15 16 W. 



„ 5 . . . 



14 59 W. 



„ 7 . . . 



16 21 W. 



„ 12 . . . 



4 36 W. 



„ 15 . . . 



15 37 E. 



» 17 . . . 



25 40 E. 



„ 18 . . . 



31 11 E. 



„ 19 . . . 



36 OE. 



„ 22 . . . 



27 23 E. 



„ 26 . . . 



5 15 W. 



Aug. 1 . . . 



14 28 W. 



„ 3 . . . 



14 40 W. 



„ 8 . . . 



5 20 W. 



„ 9 . . . 



2 57 W. 



„ 13 . . . 



2 7 W. 



The above observations have been extracted from the ship's 
meteorological log, taken therefore with the best instruments 
supplied by the Meteorological Office. 




Some particulars relating to the capture, size, &c., of the seven 
Greenland Eight "Whales captured by the s.s. ' Eclipse ' in 
1886 :— 



On being har- 
pooned remained 
under water. 



Length of 

longest plate 

of baleen. 


May 26 

„ 27 

> J M 

„ 28 

„ 31 

Jiuie 6 

25 minutes ... 






47 ft 

30 ft. (about) 

9 ft. 1 in. 

20 minutes . . . 

5 ,, 8 ,, 
4 6 

30 minutes ... 
25 „ ... 
18 „ ... 

6 „ 10 „ 

7 „ 2 „ 
5 ,, ■^ i> 

After the vessel's arrival in port it was found that these 
seven whales yielded 36 tons of oil (252 gallons per ton), and 
36 cwts. of whalebone. By the following table it will be seen 
how unfavourably this result compares with those of the two 
preceding seasons, 1884 and 1885 : — 


No. of 







of oil 


Yield of bone 



8 ft. 9 in. 
8ft. 4 in. 
4 ft. 2 in. 

10ft. 8 in. 

9ft. 1 in. 

9ft. 10 in. 
10 ft. 
6 ft. 4 in. 








The question naturally arises whether the 1886 whales are 
to be regarded as exceptionally small, or those of 1884 and 1885 
as exceptionally large. By way of an answer it may not be out 
of place here to state that Capt. D. Gray has ascertained from 
the comparison of some two hundred individuals captured under 
his supervision in the Greenland Seas and in Davis Straits 
during the last forty years, that the measurements, &c., of an 
average full-grown male Greenland Eight Whale are as follows: — 

Of the entii'e body — 

Length, measured between perpendiculars raised 
from the tip of the lower jaw and the centre of 
a line joining the tips of the caudal fin ... 61 ft. 



17 ft. 
32 ft. 

10 ft. 

11 ft. 

10 ft. 6 iu. 

11 in. 

1 ft. 6 in. 

61 lbs. 

Greatest girth, about 3 ft. behind the pectoral fins 35 ft. 

Bulk (about) 2500 cubic ft. 

Weight (about 70 tons. 

Of the head — 

Length, from the articulation of the lower jaw ... 

Girth round the eyes 

Greatest breadth across lower jaw 

Of the baleen — 

(a). The longest lamina attached to each side of the 
upper jaw (known as the "sample slip") — 


Breadth across its attached end ... 

Length of the " hair " at its free extremity 

Weight after removal of the pulp and hair, and 
after being thoroughly dried ... 
(b). The number of the laminae — 

Total number exceeding 6 ft. in length (known 
as " size slips") 

Total number under 6 ft., but long enough to be 
considered marketable, the shortest being about 
12 in. in length (known as " under size ") ... 

Total number too short to be marketable, being 
the laminse dwindled towards the extremities 
of the jaws, about 

Grand total 
Of the pectoral fins — 


Greatest breadth ... 
Of the caudal fin — 

Breadth from tip to tip ... 

Greatest length 
Buch an animal producing — 


Of whalebone (baleen) 

The female attains greater proportions than the male, 
reaching, when full-grown, an average length of about 53 ft., 
from which the various other measurements given above (except 
the number of the laminae, which is the same ; the yield of oil, 
which is 18 tons, and the yield of whalebone 18 cwts.) may be 
estimated, these appearing to be in the same relative proportion 
to the extreme length, as in the male. 




7 ft. ( 

5 ft. 

20 ft. 

6 ft. 

15 tons. 
15 cwts. 



I have now to exj^lain how the bulk and weight given above 
have been found, and how the number of the laminae of baleen 
have been ascertained. First, with regard to the bulk and 
weight. In 1885 a model was made on board the 'Eclipse,' 
according to the directions of Capt. Gray; it was compared 
frequently during the voyage with the animal itself as it lay 
alongside the ship in the recent state, and the model was 
intended to represent an animal of typical proportions rather 
than one of very unusual size (see Plate II.). After having been 
exhibited at the meeting of the British Association in Aberdeen 
it was finally presented to the Natural History Department of 
the British Museum. Before its leaving Aberdeen, however. 
Dr. Struthers, of Marischal College, obtained an exact copy, and 
through his kindness I was enabled to obtain a photograph of 
his model, and to find the volume of water it displaces, viz. 2661 
cub. in., the model being on a scale of one inch to the foot, 
2661 cub. in. = 2661 cub. ft., being therefore the bulk of the 
animal of which the model is a representation. Barely floating 
when in the recent state, sometimes a little above water when 
seen asleep, the weight of a whale is fairly, perhaps exactly, 
represented by the weight of the volume of water which it 
displaces. A cubic foot of sea-water at its usual sp. gr. 1*030 
weighs 1030 ozs. x 2661 = 76 tons, which is therefore the weight 
of the animal itself.* 

Next, with regard to the baleen-plates. "Whalebone under 
six feet- in length realises only half the price obtained for that 
exceeding that length; hence the distinction "size" and "under- 
size." For a number of years the owners of the Peterhead vessels 
have been in the habit of having the slips of bone brought home 
by their vessels counted, and from results so obtained the average 
number of slips per whale has been found. A number of these 
results are given below, with the " size " of the whales from which 
they were derived. Now, considering that the number of the 
slips, too small to be worth bringing home (which I have called 
"not marketable"), must be greater in a small whale than in a 
large, it will be seen that, after adding a number (greater in the 

* This estimate is only approximate, depending on a model of f^j, and 
on the assumption of the sp. gr. of the body being equal to that of its 
surrounding medium. 



case of small whales, less in the case of large), a total will be 
obtained, which, after allowing for individual variability, will 
clearly and conclusively prove that the number of the laminae 
does not increase with growth, but remains constant. It follows, 
therefore, that with increase in the length of the jaw the spaces 
between the laminae must become greater. 











Brought home 













ft. in.. 


Greenland . . 



4 6 


602 602 









6 2 









„ 7 

6 4 











8 5 


212| 568 









9 10 








n .... 
















164' 610 


164 610 




Cumbland. Glf . 

'86 1 

12 6 


1251 571 


125 1 571 



''' Numbers assumed to represent nou-marketable slips or slips not 
brought home. 

A few measurements (taken a few hours after death) of two male 
Narwhals, Monoclon vionoceros, killed July 4th, 1886 : — 

Length between perpendiculars erected at 

Girth just behind pectoral fins 
Transverse measurement of tail 
Antero-posterior measurement of ditto 
Least girth of rump 
Length of horn projecting beyond sldn 
Thickness of blubber on the body 
Dermis ... 
Length of intestine 

ft. in. 




12 6 



5 9 



2 7 









2 6 







( 137 ) 

By Henry Seebohm. 

The philosophy of birds' nests and eggs involves questions 
far too profound to be settled in an hour's lecture. The extreme 
partisans of one school regard birds as organic automata. They 
take a Calvinistic view of bird-life : they assume that the Hedge- 
sparrow lays a blue egg because, under the stern law of protective 
selection, every Hedge-sparrow's egg that was not blue was tried 
in the high court of Evolution, under the clause relative to the 
survival of the fittest, and condemned, a hungry Magpie or Crow 
being the executioner. The extreme partisans of the other school 
take an entirely opposite view. They regard the little Hedge- 
sparrow, not only as a free agent, but as a highly intelligent one, 
who lays blue eggs because the inherited experience of many 
generations has convinced her that, everything considered, blue 
is the most suitable colour for eggs. 

Perhaps the first generalisation that the egg-collector is likely 
to make is the fact that birds that breed in holes lay white eggs. 
The Sand Martin and the Kingfisher, which lay their eggs at the 
end of a long burrow in a bank, as well as the Owl and the 
Woodpecker, which bred in holes in trees, all lay white eggs. 
The fact of the eggs being white, and consequently very con- 
spicuous, may have been the cause, the efi'ect being that only 
those Kingfishers which breed in holes survived in the struggle 
for existence against the marauding Magpie. But the converse 
argument is equally intelligible. The fact that Kingfishers breed 
in holes may have been the cause, and the whiteness of the eggs 
the effect ; for why should Nature, who is generally so economical, 
waste her colouring-matter on an egg which, being incubated in 
the dark, can never be seen ? The fact that many Petrels and 
most Puffins, which breed in holes, have traces of spots on their 
eggs, while their relations the Auks and the Gulls, who lay their 
eggs in open nests, nearly all lay highly-coloured eggs, suggests 
the theory that the former birds have comparatively recently 
adopted the habit of breeding in holes, and that consequently 
the colour being no longer of use is gradually fading away. 
Hence, we assume that the colour of the egg is probably the 
effect of the nature of the locality in which it is laid. 



The second generalisation which the egg-collector is likely to 
make is the fact that so many of these birds which breed in 
holes are gorgeously coloured, such as Kingfishers, Parrots, Bee- 
eaters, &c. The question naturally arises. Why is it so ? The 
advocates of protective selection reply, Because their gay plumage 
made them so conspicuous as they sat upon their nests, that 
that those that did not breed in holes became the victims of the 
devouring Hawk, exactly as the conspicuous white eggs were 
eaten by the marauding Magpie. But the advocates of sexual 
selection say that all birds are equally vain, and wear as fine 
clothes as Nature will let them, and that the Kingfisher is able 
to dress as gorgeously as he does because he is prudent enough 
to breed in a hole safe from the prying eyes of the devouring 
Hawk. The fact that many birds, such as the Sand Martin and 
the Dipper, which breed in holes, are not gorgeously coloured, 
whilst others, such as the Pheasants and Humming-birds, are 
gorgeously coloured, but do not breed in holes, is evidence, as 
far as it goes, that the gorgeous colour of the bird is not the 
effect of its breeding in a hole, though the white colour of the 
egg probably is. It must be admitted, however, that the latter 
cases are not parallel. Whilst the hen Kingfishers and Bee- 
eaters are as gorgeous as their mates, the hen Pheasants and the 
hen Humming-birds are plainly, not to say shabbily, dressed. If 
birds be as vain as the advocates of sexual selection deem them, 
it must be a source of deep mortification to a hen Humming-bird 
to have to pass through life as a foil to her rainbow-hued mate. 
Whilst the Kingfisher relies for the safety of its eggs upon the 
concealed situation of its nest, the Humming-bird depends upon 
the unobtrusiveness of the plumage of the sitting hen. 

A very large number of birds, such as the Grouse, the Merlin, 
most Gulls and Terns, and all Sandpipers and Plovers, rely for 
the safety of their eggs upon the similarity of their colour to the 
ground on which they are placed. It may be an open question 
whether these birds select a site for their breeding-ground to 
match the colour of the eggs, or whether they have gradually 
changed the colour of their eggs to match the ground on which 
they breed ; but, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, 
it is perhaps fair to assume, as in the previously mentioned 
cases, that the position of the nest is the cause, and the colour 
of the egg the effect. 

birds' nests and eggs. 139 

Many birds make their nests in lofty trees, or on the ledges 
of precipitous cliffs. Of these the Eagles, Vultures, and Crows 
are conspicuous examples. They are, for the most part, too 
powerful to be afraid of the marauding Magpie, and only fear 
the attacks of beasts of prey, amongst which they doubtless 
classify the human race. They rely for the safety of their eggs 
on the inaccessible positions of the nest. Many of them also 
belong to a still larger group of birds who rely for the safety 
of their eggs upon their ability, either singly, in pairs, or in 
colonies, to defend them against all aggressors. Few colonies 
of birds are more interesting than those of Herons, Cormorants, 
and their respective allies. These birds lay Avhite or nearly 
white eggs. Nature, with her customary thrift, has lavished no 
colour upon them because, apparently, it would have been 
wasted effort to do so; but the eggs of the Guillemot are a 
remarkable exception to this rule. Few eggs are more gor- 
geously coloured, and no eggs exhibit such a variety of colour. 
It is impossible to suppose that protective selection can have 
produced colours so conspicuous on the white ledges of the 
chalk cliffs ; and sexual selection must have been equally power- 
less. It would be too ludicrous a suggestion to suppose that 
a cock Guillemot fell in love with a plain-coloured hen because 
he remembered that last season she laid a gay-coloured egg. 
It cannot be accident that causes the Guillemot's eggs to be so 
handsome and so varied. In the case of birds breeding in holes 
secure from the prying eyes of the marauding Magpie, no colour 
is wasted where it is not wanted. 

The more deeply Nature is studied, the more certain seems 
to be the conclusion that all her endless variety is the result 
of evolution. It seems also to be more and more certain that 
natural selection is not the cause of evolution, but only its 
guide. Variation is the cause of evolution, but the cause of 
variation is unknoicn. It seems to be a mistake to call variation 
spontaneous, fortuitous, or accidental, than which exjiressions 
no adjectives less accurate or more misleading could be found. 
The Athenian philosophers displayed a less unscientific attitude 
of mind towards the Unknown when they built an altar in 
its honour.* 

'■= Abstract of a lectm-e delivered at the London Institution. 


By J. H. GuRNEY, JuN., F.Z.S. 

The following notes relate to ornithological occurrences in 
this county between July 1st and December 31st, 1886. The 
mildness of the past autumn was as remarkable as the effect it 
had upon many species of birds, which recommenced nesting 
operations as if spring had returned. 

On October 14th a Thrush was sitting on four eggs, and a 
few days previously a Yellowhammer's nest with eggs was found 
at Cley. About the middle of the mouth a tame Goose began to 
lay eggs, and several leverets, little bigger than rats, were seen. 
Several curious varieties of common species were obtained, some 
of which may be worth mentioning. Amongst others a Wheatear, 
Saxicola o'liantJie, was shot at Blakeney during the first week in 
August, which had the whole of the crown and back pure white, 
the under parts being not much whiter than usual. During 
September Wheatears were very numerous among the sand-wort 
and salt-wort bushes and among the marram hillocks. A Wren, 
Troglodytes europcBus, with pied wings, made its appearance at 
Northrepps on December 9th, but was not seen again. On 
Sept. 1st I shot a white variety of the Kinged Plover, Mgialitis 
hiaticnla, at Cley. On the mud it appeared to be snow-white, 
but on closer examination proved to have a little brown on the 
collar, tail, and primaries. It certainly could not have arrived 
many hours, for so conspicuous an object could hardly have 
escaped attention. 

It seems probable that the Bittern mentioned at p. 393 of 
last year's volume, as seen several times in June, found a mate 
at Ludham Fen and nested there ; for a young one was sent 
to Mr. Cole, of Norwich, from that place about August 16th. 
Though fully feathered, and able to have crossed the sea, it is 
not very likely to have done so at that time of year. 

Four Black Terns, Sterna fissipes, were shot at Cley in 
August last. They were all young birds, differing a good 
deal in plumage ; one of them indeed differing so much 
that it may possibly be a White-winged Black Tern, as the 
webs are slightly more incised — a mark of distinction noted 
by Mr. Saunders (Yarrell's ' British Birds,' iii. p. 526) ; but the 


immature plumage of these two species requires an expert to 
distinguish them. An immature female specimen of S. fissipes 
was obtained at Barton about the same time. 

About October 19th two Little Gulls, Larus minutas, were 
killed at one shot, at Blakeney, one of them an adult bird, the 
other in an intermediate state of plumage between old and 
young. About December 20th an Egyptian Goose was shot at 
Eockland, and another was obtained elsewhere about the sam? 
time. A Eed-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator, was fornix* 
on the shore at Overstrand on October 27th ; and, as I learn 
from Lord Lilford, a white Scoter, (Edemia nigra, was seer> in 
Lynn Deeps by Capt. J. Vipan on December 10th. 

It seems likely that more than two pairs of Shelduck, 
Tadorna vuljmnser, nested at the point of coast alluded to in my 
last Notes (Zool. 1886, p. 393). Two eggs of this species were 
taken from a rabbits' hole, which, according to the finder, must 
soon after have been filled with water by the tide, and one of 
them was hatched under a hen. The young bird lived a short 
time in my garden, and became so tame that it would take 
worms out of the hand. Some more young ones were found 
dead at high-water mark, probably drowned. They were not 
all of the same size, and probably formed part of two broods. 
Col. Hawker mentions that different broods will associate in 
the same flock, sometimes to the number of 100 birds. On 
September 15th a family party of young Shelducks, sheltering 
under Salthouse sea-wall from a N.E. wind, allowed a near 
approach, and one of their number was easily shot. It showed 
the white face and other marks of immature plumage ; but the 
family, having once learnt wisdom by experience, could not be 
approached again. 

Mr. Seebohm, in his 'British Birds' (vol. iii. p. 520), states 
that the Shelduck is provincially known in Norfolk as the "Bar- 
gander," but I have never heard it called anything but "Burrow- 
duck" in this county, and believe it invariably selects a burrow 
to nest in. In the last published volume of the ' Encyclopaedia 
Britannica ' (p. 788) there is an admirable article on the Shel- 
duck by Prof. Newton, in which it is stated that the name 
"Bergander" is now almost obsolete, which, so far as this 
county is concerned, is I think the case. [The Editor has heard 
the name " Bargander " applied to the Shelldrake by professional 


fishermen and wild-fowlers on the Sussex coast, where it is an 
occasional visitor in autumn.] 

About August 10th a young Ked-necked Grebe, Podiceps 
ruhricollis, was shot on a little pool inside the sea-wall at 
Salthouse. I never saw a more immature example as to 
plumage, the black stripes on the throat being very strongly 
marked ; but of course there is no reason to suppose that 
it was bred in Norfolk. The Ked-necked Grebe has occurred 
in Norfolk in every stage of plumage, even to the most 
perfect breeding-garb. I saw a "variety," nearly white, with 
a sandy tinge, some time ago at Cambridge, which had been 
killed in the Eastern Counties. A perfectly white one, obtained 
at Eastbourne (Zool. 1879, p. 377), is now in the collection of 
Mr. Marshall, of Belmont, Taunton. 

As varieties among Grebes are so very rare, it may be worth 
digressing to say that in the collection of Mr. J. G. Barclay, of 
Leyton, is a sandy-coloured Great Crested Grebe, obtained in 
Leadenhall Market. Mr. E. T. Booth, in his Catalogue of the 
Birds in the Brighton Museum, mentions a white Sclavonian 

A Diver, believed to have been a Black-throated, Colymbus 
arcticus, was seen by Messrs. F. C. and 0. V. Aplin at Cromer 
on November 20tli. 

An immature Black Guillemot, Uria (jrylle, was shot at Cley 
on December 20th. 

By G. H. Caton Haigh. 

For several years past I have paid some attention to Bats in 
North Lincolshire, and have succeeded in identifying five species 
(the same number as recorded by Lord Lilford (j)p. 61 - 67) from 
Northamptonshire) ; only three of these, however, can be 
considered at all common. The five species which I have 
obtained in North Lincolnshire (using the nomenclature of Bell's 
' British Quadrupeds ') are : — 

Scotophilus noctula. — This fine species is by no means 
uncommon. It is usually the first of the Bats to come abroad 
in the evening, frequently appearing before the sun has set. At 


this hour, if the evening be fine, it flies at a great height, but as 
the darkness increases it is usually seen at a lower elevation. 
In cold or windy weather also it seldom flies high. It generally 
selects a hollow tree for a resting-place during the daytime, but 
last summer I often noticed the appearance of several of these 
Bats about a rookery composed chiefly of young trees, on which 
I could detect no holes. The old gamekeeper, to whom I 
mentioned the circumstance, said that he thought they came 
out of the rooks' nests, as he had several times found Bats 
among the loose sticks forming their foundations. The Noctule 
is, I believe, the first of the Bats to retire in the autumn, and is 
not often seen abroad after the end of August ; but during the 
very hot weather of last autumn (1886) I saw several individuals 
of this species almost every evening uj) to October 4th. This is 
the latest date I have noted, though it has been recorded to have 
been seen in November ('The Field,' Nov. 19th, 1881). The 
loud harsh squeak of this Bat when flying overhead is well 
known. I have heard it utter another note — a sort of prolonged 
chirp — not unlike that of the Long-eared Bat. This is always 
uttered when near the ground, usually when entering or leaving 
its diurnal retreat. 

Scotophilus pijnstrellus. — This little Bat is excessively abun- 
dant, greatly outnumbering all the other species put together. 
It comes abroad early in the evening, though, unlike the Noctule, 
it is seldom seen before sunset. The Pipistrelle is occasionally 
seen abroad in winter, even in very cold weather. One was 
observed flying round a cottage in the village of Grain shy on 
January 10th last, a bright moonlight night with deep snow on 
the ground. Yet, although a few may be seen abroad in every 
month of the year, the majority disappear in October. 

Vespertilio nattereri. — The Eeddish-grey Bat is apparently 
very rare in this district, as I have only met with it once. A 
single specimen was picked up by one of the gamekeepers in a 
grass-field near the village of Grainsby in July, 1876. It was 
alive, but unable to fly, and died on the following day. Although 
I have ever since looked out for this Bat, I have failed to meet 
with it again. 

Vespertilio dauhentonii. — This species ought probably to be 
described as local rather than rare, though at present I only 
know of one locality where it is not uncommon. As many as 


a dozen may be seen there at once flying over the surface of 
a large pond partly overhung with willows. It appears more 
sensitive to cold than other Bats are ; on a slight fall in the 
temperature not a single individual is to be seen out, sometimes 
for days together. It comes abroad rather late in the evening. 

Plecotus auritus. — The Long-eared Bat is generally distributed 
and fairly common, though I have never seen it in any abundance. 
It is usually the last of the Bats to come abroad in the evening, 
seldom appearing till it is nearly dark. From this circumstance 
it might easily be overlooked were it not for its peculiar cry, 
which differs considerably from that of all the other Bats with 
which I am acquainted. I have only once seen this species 
abroad before sunset. In Bell's ' British Quadrupeds ' (2nd ed.) 
it is stated that "the Long-eared Bat appears to frequent open 
country more than many other species." My own observations 
in North Lincolnshire lead me to the conclusion that here, at 
least, the reverse of this is the case, for I cannot recall a single 
instance in which I have met with this Bat away from the 
vicinity of trees or buildings. It generally flies low, amongst 
the tree-trunks and branches, and appears to take its insect-food 
from the bark and leaves rather than on the wing. The lime- 
tree, when in flower, seems to afford it great attraction. 

I have reason to believe that there is at least one more 
species to be added to this list, for I have frequently observed a 
rather large dark-coloured Bat flying low over grass-land, so low 
as only just to clear the higher stalks of grass. It moves heavily 
with slow flaps of its wings, and is generally seen in the neighbour- 
hood of trees. I hope that this may prove to be the Barbastelle, 
but from its mode of flight it is difficult to obtain a specimen. 

The Whiskered Bat, mentioned by Lord Lilford (p. 66) as 
occurring in Northamptonshire, and also recorded from Yorkshire 
by Clarke and Eoebuck in their ' Handbook of Yorkshire Verte- 
brates,' I have been unable to identify in Lincolnshire, though I 
have looked for it carefully, and am well acquainted with the 
species, which is not uncommon in some parts of North Wales. 

I hope Lincolnshire naturalists may be able to add to this 
short list, for there may be several species as yet unrecorded. The 
Whiskered Bat may possibly occur ; the Barbastelle, as stated 
above, probably does so. It would also be interesting to hear of 
other localities for Vespertilio nattcreri and V. datihentonii. 

( 145 ) 



By Edward Lovett. 

(Continued from vol x., p. 177.) 

Nika edulis, Risso. 
This remarkable crustacean, belonging to a genus of which 
only two species are known on our shores, is also very rare, 
except in isolated localities, where it is sometimes fairly 
abundant. It may, however, probably occur more generally 
than is supposed, for, having a general resemblance when boiled 
to one of the prawns, it may often pass and be even eaten 
unnoticed and uncared for. As it occurs in such spots as are 
frequented by prawns, it may be looked for with a prospect of 
success amongst the " catch " of a prawn-fisher. Its general 
description is as follows : — Carapace in appearance somewhat 
like that of the Lesser Prawn, but with this striking difference — 
the rostrum, instead of being large, serrated, and curved, is 
simple, straight, and very small ; there is a spine on either side 
of it protecting the eyes. The antennae are very long and 
slender, and the legs are also rather long ; the first pair are so 
remarkable that Bell, in his standard work, says that by this 
peculiarity this genus may be distinguished from every other 
form of crustacean. The one is a pincer-claw, similar in this 
respect to the primary legs of crustaceans in general; the 
other a simple terminal hook -joint ; or, in other words, one foot 
is didactyle and the other monodactyle. So far as I have been 
able to examine specimens, I have found the right foot to be the 
one armed with a pincer, and the left the one-fingered limb in 
every case ; I was, however, prepared to find exceptions to this 
rule, and they may occur, as in the case of species already referred 
to; the right or left is the " large" claw, though generally the 
right, and I consider the irregularity in this species corresponds 
to the difference in size of claws in other species and genera. 
This disparity in the sizes of corresponding limbs I have already 
discussed in former notes. 

The colour of this species is a bright transparent pink, 
becoming, however, an opaque but bright red when boiled, even 


brighter than the Thames " shrimp," which, by the way, is not 
a shrimp. 

My own specimens of Nika edulis are all from Jersey, where 
it occasionally occurs in sufficient numbers to be offered in the 
market in small lots for sale as " shrimps." I have seen about 
twenty or thirty of this rare crustacean exposed on a cabbage- 
leaf, prawns or shrimps being certainly less abundant as a rule 
in the Channel Islands than they are in many of our own south- 
coast towns ; hence, when anything of the sort occurs in the 
market, the chances are it is something rare. Fish-markets 
afford a good hunting-ground in this respect for the marine 
zoologist, though a minute examination of the specimens elicits 
a somewhat annoying response from the fish-wives, who imagine 
the naturalist is probably a large purchaser. I have never been 
able to obtain specimens of Nika edulis alive, and have therefore 
never seen them in their native haunts ; but I have been 
informed by fishermen that they capture them generally at 
about one or two o'clock in the morning ; indeed, there are two 
or three crustaceans to which the seemingly remarkable rule 
applies, and I think it must be correct. I know the Jersey 
fishermen are on the coast at all hours, because when they are 
working their crab-pots they have to go out to them whenever 
the tide is favourable, and, as they often take a push-net with 
them to work any sandy reach on their way, they soon come to 
know when and where any particular species may be procured.* 
More than one crustacean which I had hitherto regarded as very 
rare has turned up in comparative abundance in the small hours 
of the morning at a certain spot known to one of these fishermen. 
This is very likely their feeding-time, and I consider that they 
probably pass most of their time just below the surface of the 
wet sand ; hence the reason of their being so seldom seen. 

Bell states that Leach's original specimen was obtained by 
Montagu at Torcross ; his own type-specimen from Bognor, 
where it was served up to him for breakfast amongst some 
prawns ; and that, according to Mr. W- Thompson, there are 

* Mr. Siuel, of Jersey, who has been fortunate enough to obtain NiJca 
edulis alive and to have kept it for a short time in an aquarium, informs me 
that towards night-time it emerges from concealment and becomes very 
lively indeed, and that its eyes gleam like rubies in the dark. 


specimens in the collection made in the South of Ireland by 
Mr. Vaughan Thompson. Besides these localities it has been 
recorded from Shetland, as very local and in deep water ; Galway, 
rare ; Cornwall, occasionally on stony ground in thirty fathoms ; 
and also from the Adriatic Sea. 

Nika Couchii, Bell, 

The second British species of the genus is described by Bell 
from one sj^ecimen sent him by Mr. Couch, after whom he 
named it. I have never met with it myself, nor have I ever 
heard of any one who has ; indeed in the ' Annals and Magazine 
of Natural History,' 1868 (vol. ii. p. 120), it is considered to be 
a variety of the last-named species, in which I am inclined to 
concur after what I have seen of the extreme variability of 
crustaceans generally. Bell was an exceedingly careful observer, 
but, although he claims some fairly distinct features for his 
species, — such as the didactyle hand being shorter than the wrist, 
the former slightly, the latter more considerably, curved, middle 
plate of tail attenuated towards the extremity and not furrowed, 
and the whole animal being longer in proportion to its other 
dimensions, — still he only examined a single specimen of this, 
and does not appear to have seen any number of the previous 
species. I think therefore that until its specific identity is 
proved by, at any rate, a fair series of examples, it is preferable 
to regard it as a variety, especially as variation is so constantly 

Athanas nitescens, Leach. 

This very beautiful crustacean is much like a young lobster, 
or, as Bell remarks, a young Astacus. Its carapace is smooth 
and slightly compressed laterally ; the antennae are scarcely more 
than half the length of the whole animal, and the first pair of 
legs are furnished with robust pincers, which are, however, nearly 
always equal in size, — a somewhat unusual occurrence. The 
external plates of the tail have a transverse division one-third 
of their length from their termination ; this feature is strongly 
marked in the Astacidce, so that this resemblance is interesting 
The tail-plates are beautifully fringed with setae. 

The colour of Athanas nitescens is somewhat variable, being 
sometimes of a warm reddish brown, and at others of a 
decidedly dark green tinge. Bell, who was not fortunate enough 



to see many of this species, and who probably never examined 
one alive, writes, "Colour light buff?" As this is the tint of a 
much dried and bleached specimen, he evidently felt the 
necessity for making this statement in doubt. He also states 
that the length of Leach's specimens is rather more than half 
an inch, whereas, judging from the number of specimens that 
have passed through my hands, I should say that the length of 
the mature animal, from the tip of the rostrum to the tip of the 
tail-plate, was nearer an inch. 

The usual habitat of this species is under little stones or bits 
of shell that have collected in the hollows often formed under 
some large boulder ; but, so far as I have been able to ascertain, 
it is never found upon a sandy or muddy bottom. Favourite 
spots may be seen among the low-tide pools of St. Clement's 
Bay, or Grouville Bay, Jersey ; and here, with a little careful 
search, may be found this uncommon crustacean, at times in 
considerable numbers. Mr. Sinel informs me that he has taken 
it with ova from -January to September. 

Bell states that this species was discovered by Montagu and 
sent to Dr. Leach, who asserts that it occurs in rock-pools left 
by the tide on the Devon and Cornwall coasts. It has also been 
recorded from Galway, from "the coast of France," and from 
the Adriatic Sea. 

Hippolyte spinus, Sowerby. 

This is a genus about which I can say but little, since I have 
unfortunately had very little opportunity of seeing many speci- 
mens of it. There are moreover a few species described in 
various reports, &c., which were evidently unknown to Bell 
when he published his work on the Stalk-eyed Crustacea, and 
his genus has since been subdivided, so that it is now difficult, 
without further examination of specimens, to say much that 
would be of use to the student. 

As regards this particular species, however {H. sjnnus), it 
may be described as follows : — The general form is very robust, 
the cephalothorax particularly so, and armed with a powerful 
rostrum, which springs from a serrated ridge commencing at 
the juncture with the abdominal segments. These abdominal 
segments are humj)ed in the middle, the third segment forming 
in its centre a strong spine, curved downwards towards the tail, 


whence probably the name of the animal. The first pair of 
legs are short, with small rounded claws. The length is about 
an inch to an inch and a half, and the colour, I believe, similar 
to a shrimp, but variable ; those I have seen being only dead 

It is stated by Bell to be exclusively a northern species, but I 
obtained all my specimens from off Harwich, where they were 
taken in shrimp-nets. Milne-Edwards says it is found in the 
seas of Iceland and Greenland. It has also been recorded from 
the Isle of Man (deep water), St. Andrews (deep water), and 
the Firth of Forth. 

Hii')ioolytc varians, Leach. 

This species has, I believe, been removed to the genus 
Caradina. It differs from the preceding by the absence of the 
spine on the third segment, by a smooth carapace and slender 
rostrum, and also in being smaller and much less robust in form. 
It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of the smaller 
crustaceans, and is often of a lovely transparent green tint, 
which enables it to pass almost unnoticed in the AlgaB-lined 
rock-pools, where it lives ; it is quite common in our southern 
and warmer localities, Jersey, of course, being a specially good 
locality. It is also recorded from Devon and Cornwall, eastward 
as far as Poole Harbour, Dorsetshire, as well as from the coasts 
of Connemara and Dublin. 

According to Bell, it loses its lovely green colour soon after 
death, but with careful preparation I find that it can be almost 
entirely retained, 

Hippolyte Cranchii, Leach. 

In this species the carapace is short and rounded, the rostrum 
has three serrations, and the whole animal is shorter and 
slightly more robust than the last mentioned. The central or 
spine-plate of the tail is sharply spinous on either side. The 
length of the animal is from half an inch to three-quarters of 
an inch. 

It has been recorded by Bell from Torbay, Salcombe Bay, 
Poole, and Loch Fyne; and has since been recorded from Ardbea 
Bay, West Coast of Ireland, in four fathoms ; Dublin, not 
uncommon ; Galway, common ; Belfast ; South Devon and 
Harwich (in shrimp-nets). 


Hippohjtc Thompsoni, Bell. 
This species is characterised by its describer as differing in a 
few minor details from some of the other species. He states 
that he saw but one specimen, and, as his figure is in general 
details very like that of H. spinus, I think it probable that this 
is merely a variety of that species. 

Hippolyte Prideauxiana, Leach. 

This species has been described by Bell as being like 
H. varians, but much smaller, and of a reddish brown colour. 
The rostrum is straight and smooth on the upper surface, and 
the abdomen is much bent at the third segment. It has been 
recorded from the coast of Devonshire. 

Hippolyte imndaliformis, Bell. 

Under this name Bell described two specimens which were 
obtained from Loch Fyne. He states that it bears a remarkable 
resemblance to Pandcdus annulicornis, but that at the same time 
it is in all its essential characters a true Hippolyte. 

It has, I believe, been since taken in the Hebrides in 1866, 
and in Shetland in 1868. 

Hippolyte cidtellata, Norman. 

In the British Association Keports, 1866 and 1868, this 
species is recorded from the Minch and Shetland. 

Hip)polyte securifrons, Norman. 

In the ' Transactions of the Tyneside Naturalists' Field Club,' 
1863, this species is noticed, and is stated to have been taken at 
St. Andrews, Shetland, Berwick, and the Dogger Bank, It is 
said to closely resemble H. spinus. Hippolyte fascigera and 
H. j)usiola have been both recorded, but I am unable to give any 
details with certainty. 

In a genus like Hippolyte we find a large number of described 
species, some of which are clearly distinct, others doubtful. I 
have no practical acquaintance with the species under notice, 
but it is worth remarking that whereas some of the species are 
clearly southern in their distribution, others are as distinctly 
northern, while others again are generally distributed. Now, 


considering the vast difference in the surrounding conditions of 
even North and South Britain, and considering also the 
interesting and curious diversification of the several species 
above described, we may reasonably conclude that five good 
species probably represent the genus in this country, the 
remainder being merely varieties. 

(To be continued.) 



Mares and Foals versus Wolves. — When in the Asturias in 1885, 
I was told of a very curious case of animal instinct, which may be worth 
recording. Wolves are by no means infrequent in the Asturias, and often 
attack the young foals which are sent up to pasturage with the mares in the 
mountains. The experienced danger seems to have begotten a precautionary 
instinct of a very intelligent kind. It is said that, on an alarm of Wolves, 
the mares and foals congregate for mutual protection and common 
defence. The mares form themselves into a sort of cordon, lieads outwards, 
surrounding a space enclosing the young foals, and are ready for attacking 
with their fore feet the Wolves on their approach. My informant gave me 
a graphic account of such an attack, of which he was an eye-witness for 
nearly an hour, and described to me how the Wolves circled round and 
round the defenders, first at some distance, then gradually approaching 
nearer and nearer, seeking an opening into the inclosure, till at last they 
came within striking distance, and he saw one Wolf rolled over dead by a 
blow from the fore foot of one of the mares. The fore foot is not 
commonly used for defence by any equine species; but it is obvious 
that the more powerful hind-leg blow would be of little service against the 
spring of a Wolf from behind, without the directing eye to guide the 
stroke. Of what a long experience must this mutual protection have 
been the result! We can scarcely understand it, without councils of war 
having been held, the dangers discussed, and signals for concerted action 
arranged ; but now all this instinct may merely be the inheritance of 
the experience of former generations. — George Maw (Benthall, Kenley, 
Surrey) in ' Nature.' 

Natterer's Bat and the Barhastelle in Sussex. — It may interest 
some of your readers to know that a specimen of VespertiUo nattereri was 
taken near here in the early part of last year, and was brought to me. 
I tried my best to keep it alive, but failed, as it refused all food. Last year 


also my brother sent me a specimen of Barhastellus communis, which he 
shot at Horsham. It was flying only a few feet from the ground in the 
sunshine in the afternoon. Three years ago I had sixty-two Noctules 
brought me, which were taken from the hollow of an old elm in Preston 
Park. Many of these lived for weeks feeding on flies and raw beef. — 
C. W. Urazenor (Lewes Road, Brighton). 

Lesser Horse-shoe Bat in Herts and Kent. — The Lesser Horse-shoe 
Bat is probably more generally distributed over the southern counties of 
England than the data arranged by Mr. Kelsall might lead one to expect. 
Last summer (1886) a fresh example was sent up from Plerts to Spalding, 
of Netting Hill, and he told me at that time that he had previously 
received one or two specimens from the neighbourhood of London. It has 
also occurred in Kent, specimens having been both shot and caught alive 
in the neighbourhood of Sevenoaks. — H, A. Macpherson. 

Lesser Horse-shoe Bat in Wales. — To the localities mentioned by 
Mr. J. E. Kelsall for the occurrence of Bhbwlophus hipposkleros (p. 89) 
I am pleased to be able to add North-West Merionethshire, where it occurs 
sparingly in many places. I have also found it in Denbighshire in a cave 
in the neighbourhood of St. Asaph. In Carnarvonshire I have reason to 
believe it occurs, though as yet I have not obtained a specimen. Probably 
this species will be found to be generally distributed in North Wales. — 
G. H. Caton Hatgh (Aber-ia, Penrhyndendraeth, Merionethshire). 

Albino Specimen of the Short-tailed Field Vole.— I have seen a pure 
white specimen of this little animal, which was taken here in February 
last, and another was caught about the same time and on the same spot. 
They both had pink eyes. — Henry Lamb (Maidstone). 


Distribution of the White-bellied Brent Goose. — In 'Tlie Zoologist' 
for January (p. 29) the Rev. H. A. Macpherson asks for information as to 
the distribution of the White-bellied Brent during its stay on our coasts. 
The only Lincolnshire-killed Brent I have handled during the winter were 
three, shot dining the last week in January on the edge of the "fitties" just 
south of Tetney Haven, all three belonging to the white-bellied or Atlantic 
type. The skin of one I have now added to my collection. Some years 
since Col. Russell sent me a fine White-bellied Brent shot by himself on 
the Essex coast, accompanied by some interesting and exhaustive notes as 
to the two races and their comparative abundance and scarcity in various 
years. — John Cordeaux (Great Cotes, Ulceby). 

[If Col. Russell has no objection to allow the notes above-mentioned to 
appear in ' The Zoologist ' we have no doubt they would be acceptable 
to many. — Ed.] 


The alleged existence of Ptarmigan in Cumberland.— In his 
excelleut article on the distribution of the Ptarmigan (pp. 81 — 89), Mr. 
Robert Service goes out of his wa}' to try to prove that this species was 
once a native of the English Lake District. The only shred of evidence 
adduced is an incidental remark, apparently founded on oral tradition, that 
two young Ptarmigan had been obtained in England, together with the 
vague inference that they might have come from Skiddaw. Mr. Service 
appears to forget that the enquiries instituted by Capt. K. Dover, on behalf 
of Mr. A. G. More, were made among the men best qualified to know the 
fauna of the lakes, and that he failed to find any evidence or tradition of 
their former presence. More recently the subject was investigated afresh 
by the writer and his colleague, when preparing ' The Birds of Cumber- 
land,' witb a similar result. Certainly no one was better qualified to know 
than Jerry Smith, of Bassenthwaite, who died last year. A native of the 
district, a keeper by calling, a naturalist con amove, and latterly stuflBug birds 
and mounting "pads" for all the country side, — possessed, too, of a reserved 
disposition, together with a retentive memory, — Jerry Smith possessed the 
most intimate knowledge of the fauna of the Skiddaw district, and to such 
congenial spirits as Mr. Senhouse, Mr. Duckworth, and the writer, he was 
wilhng to unburden himself freely. The question about Ptarmigan was 
put to him again and again, but he always maintained that the alleged 
existence of the species was purely imaginary, though he himself was well 
acquainted with the bird, and recollected the introduction of some from 
Scotland. He also informed the writer that he had, as a boy, heard old men 
say that a few Capercailzie e.xisted in the district. — H. A. Macpherson. 

Supposed occurrence formerly of Ptarmigan in Cumberland.— With 
reference to the remarks on this subject by Mr. Service (pp. 81 — 89), 
I may state that in 1841 there was in the Museum at Keswick a Ptarmigan 
said to have been killed on Skiddaw ; but I remember no other particulars. 
— H. T. Frere (Burston Piectory, Dissj. [Those on Skiddaw were intro- 
duced from Scotland. Vide supra. — Ed.] 

The Hawfinch at Harrogate. — On February 2oth J saw a pair of 
Hawfinches, C'occothraustes vulgaris, in the Hydropathic Gardens. This 
is, I think, a very unusual place for this bird, but a few have been seen in 
several places in the town this winter. During the last summer a pair 
bred in the grounds at Ripley Castle. I communicated this to Mr. W. 
Eagle Clarke, who wrote me in reply that he knew of a pair nesting at 
Panuel, near Harrogate, during the previous year. During the last week of 
February Mr. Basil T. Woodd, of Conyngham Hall, wrote me that last 
winter several Hawfinches used to come and feed on the crumbs thrown 
out of his window for the bird, and that he had reason to believe that some 
of them nested in his grounds. — F. R. Fitzgerald (Harrogate). 



Plumage of the Kestrel. — The sex of the Kestrel mentioned by me 
(Zool. 1886, p. 180) was not tested by dissection, which I now regret, 
though at the time I did not think it necessary. I may add, how'ever, that 
it was its small size, combined with its female plumage, which induced me 
to examine it closely ; that I took it to Mr. John Sayer, the well-known 
birdstuffer, of Norwich, who confirmed my opinion ; and that a hawk, male 
or female, kept flying about and caUing- near the place whence the nest 
was taken for some time afterwards, making the third which seemed to 
belong to the nest. — H. T. Feere (Burston Kectory, Diss). 

Great Grey Shrike in Kent. — A male specimen of Lanius excuhitor 
was shot near Maidstone on January 19th, and was preserved by Mr. S. 
Brent, of this town. Two others were seen here last winter. — Henry 
Lamb (Maidstone). 

[This bird is a pretty regular winter visitor, and in the eastern and 
south-eastern counties of England is by no means so uncommon as many 
suppose. — Ed.] 

Adders in Winter. — One day early in January last a friend of mine 
killed an Adder in Parson's Copse at Rowner. I made him promise to give 
it me, as the occurrence of reptile life in the winter is at least unusual; 
so last week it came into my possession. It is a small specimen, normally 
colouied, with very numerous confluent spots. The mossy oak stump 
whereon we found it was not particularly sheltered, and I feel sure that the 
viper was not dug up or brought there. The creature was very sluggish, 
and permitted its finder to cut the stick leisurely, with which a very slight 
blow despatched it. The parish of Rowner abounds with Adders, and they 
have their favourite basking.places. For several weeks I used to look for 
one very handsome light grey, or almost white specimen, with black 
markings, and it was almost always on the same little heap of dry fern 
beneath a wild apple tree. Once while sitting sketching I heard a rustle 
beneath the camp-stool, and looked down to see a fine brown Adder very 
slowly passing between my feet; it went at the same pace straight ahead 
until it disappeared beneath the ferns. All creatures apparently get 
accustomed to a motionless figure, and treat it with indifference. Among 
birds I found Jays and Chaf&nches, es[ ecially young Chaffinches, the 
boldest ; the first would come very close indeed, attracted, I suppose, by 
curiosity, while the second would pick up the crumbs from my frugal 
lunch, \Yhich had fallen beneath the easel. The colour-box serves occasionally 
for collecting purposes. A Piinged Snake, unfortunately slain in my clumsy 
attempts at capture, was put amongst the colonr-tubes, and attracted in 
half an hour an extraordinary number of flies. A specimen of Triton 
cristatus, consigned to the same receptacle on account of its size and beauty, 


perished there, to my great regret. It was not there long, but long enough 
for the skin to dry and to resist all attempts at resuscitation.— Martin 
Snape (Spring Garden Cottage, Forton, Gosport). 


Plain Surmullet on the Devonshire Coast.— At the latter end of the 
year 1885 a present of some thirty Red Mullet was sent me by a friend at 
Dartmouth. Being struck by their evenness and smallness of size, — no 
fish measuring more than six inches, — and vividness of colouring, I sent 
specimens to Mr. Thomas Cornish, of Penzance, who kindly identified 
them for me as being the Plain Surmullet, Mullios harbatus. On referring 
to Yarrell's ' British Fishes' (1859), I find this particular fish described as 
a rare visitor to our shores. Last winter I again received specimens from 
Torbay, and now, a few days ago, I had others sent with an accompanying 
note that " those sent are a sample of numbers just caught by a Brixham 
trawler, the bulk of which have gone to supply other markets." Can you 
explain why this once uncommon fish on our shores now appears in 
comparison plentiful, and at this season of the year only?— Edmund 
Elliot (Tresillian, Kingsbridge, South Devon). 

[In the opinion of many ichthyologists Mullus harbatus is merely the 
male of Mullus surnmlletus, and always smaller than the female. See 
Dr. Giinther's 'Introduction to the Study of Fishes,' p. 404. The number 
of small-sized individuals caught together, as above stated, suggests that 
the shoals in question were probably composed of immature fish. — Ed.] 


LiNNEAN Society of London. 

March 3, 1887.— Wm. Carruthers, F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

The following gentlemen were elected Fellows of the Society :— B. S. 
Dyer, Right Hon. Sir E. Fry, S. G. Klein, C. Maries, E. S. Marshall, 
R. Morgan, J. B. Stone, and A. W. Tait. 

No zoological papers were read, but two on botanical subjects dealt 
with the genetic affinities and classification of the AlgcB, by A. W. Bennett, 
and a fungoid disease of Colocasia esculenta, by G. Massie and D. Morris. 

March 17, 1887.— Wm. Caruuthers, F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

Mr. Francis J. Briant, Mr. J. Errington de la Croit, and Mr. W. West 
were elected Fellows of the Society. 

Mr. C. B. Clarke, F.R.S., was elected into the Council in the place of 
Dr. H. Trimen, resigned. 


The following recommendations of the Council were submitted to the 
Fellows: — "That the Carpological Collection be disposed of, as being of 
no practical value to the Society, or of any intrinsic value, a few specimens 
belonging to the Wallichian Herbarium excepted. That representatives of 
the National Collections, British Museum, and Kew be invited to select 
such specimens as may be desirod by those institutions, and the residue 
be offered to the Oxford Botanic Gardens, where a Museum is in course 
of formation. That the small earthenware vase in the Carpological 
Colle:tion be offered to the Ethnological Department, British Museum." 
On the ballot being taken, however, these recommendations were not 
approved by the Fellows present. 

Mr. Alfred 0. Walker read a paper on the Crustacea of Singapore, 
the collection in question having been made by Surgeon-Major Archer 
during 1879 — 83. The species were chiefly dredged in 15 — '2U fatlioms, 
or got on shallow sand-banks. A full list is given of all the forms 
identified, and several new species are described. Among the new forms are 
Doclea tetraptera, Xanthe scabeirimus, Maii Miersli, and Caphyra Archerl. 

A paper by Dr. George King on the Indian Figs was read, in which it 
was shown that insects play a considerable part in the fertilisation of certain 
forms. Dealing with the structural peculiarities of the flowers in the genus 
Ficus, he specifies (1) male, (9) pseudohermaphrodite, (3) neuter, and (4) 
female fertile flowers. Besides these occur a set of flowers originally named 
by him " Insect-attacked females," but for which he has since adopted 
Count Solms-Larnbach's term " Gall-flowers " (Bot. Zeit. 1885), this botanist 
having anticipated him in publication, though his own researches were of 
earlier date. As to the question of these gall-flowers, Dr. King states that 
the pupa of an insect oan usually be seen througli the coats of the ovary. 
The pupa when perfected escapes into the cavity of the receptacle by cutting 
its way through, and fully winged developed insects are often to be found 
in considerable numbers in the cavity of the fig. The pupa of the insect 
must become encysted in the ovary of the gall-flower at a very early period, 
for about the time at which the imago is escaping from the ovary the pollen 
of the antlers of the male flower is only beginning to shed. Thus Dr. King 
holds that through the interposition of insects the malformed female flowers 
doubtless become functionally important in the life-history of the fig-trees. 

— J. MUKIK. 

Zoological Society of London. 

February 15, 1887.- Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, 
in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to 
the Society's Menagerie during the month of January, and called special 


attention to two Blakiston's Owls, Bubo blakistoni, from Japan, presented 
by Mr. J. H. Leech; three Hooker's Sea-Lions, Otaria hookeri, presented 
by the Hon. W. J. M. Larnach.i C.M.G., Minister of Marine of New 
Zealand ; and a Blue Penguin, Eudyptula minor, from Cook's Straits, 
New Zealand, presented by Mr. Bernard Lawson. 

Prof. F. Jeffrey Bell read a report on a collection of Echinoderniata 
made in the Andaman Islands by Col. Cadell, V.C. The collection was 
stated to contain one hundred examples referable to fifty species. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger read a paper on a collection of Reptiles and 
Batrachians made by ]\Ir. H. Pryer in the Loo Choo Islands. The author 
observed that exceptional interest attached to this collection, seeing that it 
was the first herpetological collection that had reached Europe from that 
group of islands. Two new species were described, viz. Tachydromus 
smaragdinus and Tropidonotus pryerl. 

Mr. Oldfield Thomas read a paper on the small Mammals collected 
in British Guiana by Mr. W. L. Sclater. The collection contained 
thirteen specimens belonging to eight species, of which one was new ; 
this the author proposed to describe as Hesperomys (Rhipidomys) 
sclater i. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger pointed out the characters of a new Geckoid 
Lizard from British Guiana. The specimen in question was contained in 
a small collection of Reptiles made by Mr. W. L. Sclater on the Pomeroon 
river. Tiie author described it as Oonatodes annularis. 

A communication was read from Mr. Charles 0. Waterhouse, con- 
taining an account of a new parasitic Dipterous Insect of the family Hippo- 
boscidcB. The author stated that this insect had been found on a species of 
Swift, Cypselus melanoleucus, by Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, at Fort Wingate, 
New Mexico. It was closely allied to Anapera pallida, a European 
Dipterous parasite found on C. apus, and was proposed to be named 
Anapera fimbriata. 

Mr. John H. Ponsonby communicated, on behalf of Mr. Andrew 
Garrett, the first part of a paper on the Terrestrial MoUusks of the Viti 
or Fiji Islands. 

Mr. F. E. Beddard read a paper on the structure of a new genus of 
Lumbricidfe, Thamnodrilus, discovered by Mr. W. L. Sclater in British 
Guiana, which lie proposed to characterise as Thamnodrilus guUelmi. 

March 1, 1887.— Piof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, in 
the chair. 

Prof. Jeffrey Bell read extracts from a communication sent to him by 
Mr. Edgar Thurston, Superintendent of the Government Central Museum, 
Madras, containing observations on two species of Batrachians of the 
genus Oacopus. 


Mr. 0. Salvin (on behalf of Mr. F. D. Godman) exhibited a pair of a 
large and rare Butterfly, Ornithoptera victoria;, the male of which had been 
hitherto undescribed. These specimens were obtained at the end of May, 
1886, by Mr. C. M, Woodford, at North- West Bay, Maleita Island, one of 
the Solomon group. 

Mr. E. B. Poulton read a paper containing an account of his e.xperiments 
on the protective value of colour and markings in insects (especially in 
Lepidopterous larvae) and their relation to Vertebrata. It was found that 
conspicuous insects were nearly always refused by birds and lizards, but that 
they were eaten in e.\treme hunger: hence the unpleasant taste failed as a 
protection under these circumstances. Further, conspicuous and unpalatable 
insects, although widely separated, tended to converge in colour and pattern, 
being thus more easily seen and remembered by their enemies. In the 
insects protected by resembling their surroundings it was observed that 
mere size might prevent the attacks of small enemies. Some such insects 
were unpalatable, but could not be distinguished from the others. In 
tracing the inedibility through the stages, it was found that no inedible 
imago was edible in the larval stage ; in this stage therefore the unpleasant 
taste arose. 

Mr. G. A. Boulenger read a paper descriptive of the fishes collected by 
the late Mr. Clarence Buckley in Ecuador. The set of all the species in 
the collection acquired by the British Museum in 1880 contained a large 
number of highly interesting and well-preserved specimens. Amongst 
them were representatives of ten species described as new to Science. 

Mr. Richard S. Wray, B.Sc, read a note on a vestigial structure in the 
adult Ostrich representing the distal phalanges of the third digit. 

Mr. John H. Ponsonby communicated (on behalf of Mr. Andrew 
Garrett) the second and concluding part of a paper on the Terrestrial 
Mollusks of the Viti or Fiji Islands. 

Mr. Edgar A. Smith gave an account of a small collection of shells from 
the Loo-Choo Islands made by Mr. H. Pryer. 

March 15, 1887.— Dr. St. George Mivart, F.R.S., Vice-President, 
in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to the 
Society's Menagerie during the month of February, and called attention to a 
Burmeister's Cariama, Chunga burmeisieri, received in exchange Feb. Slth; 
a White-fronted Heron, Ardea nova-zealandicE, from Australia, presented 
by F. B. Dyas, Esq. ; a young specimen of a Black-winged Kite, Elanus 
ccEvuleus, taken from the nest by Mr. R. Southey, of Southfield, Plumstead, 
Cape of Good Hope, and received Feb. 28th ; and two Gloved Wallabies, 
Haliiiaturus irma, received in exchange from the Zoological and Acclimati- 
zation Society of Melbourne, Feb. 28th. 


Mr. Howard Saunders exhibited a young male Harlequin Duck, Cosmo- 
netta histrlonica, shot off the coast of Northumberland on the 2nd December 
last, and remarked that it was the second authentic British-killed specimen 
in existence. [For further details, see p. 70. — Ed.] 

Mr. Oldfield Thomas read a paper on the Bats collected by Mr. C. M. 
Woodford in the Solomon Islands. The localities at which Mr. Woodford 
collected were chiefly Alu, in the large Shortland Island, and the adjoining 
small island of Fauro. The collection contained twenty-three specimens 
belonging to ten species, of which two were new to Science. One of these, 
which represented also a new genus of Pteropine Bats, was proposed to be 
called Nesonycteris woodfordi. 

A communication was read from Mr. W. R. Ogilvie Grant, containing 
an account of ihe birds collected by Mr. C. M. Woodford at Fauro and 
Shortland Islands, in the Solomon Archipelago, and in other localities of the 
group. "Mr. Grant proposed to name a new Crow of the genus Macrocorax, 
obtained in the island of Guadalcanar, after its discoverer, M. ivoodfordi. 

A communication was read from Mr. G. A. Boulenger, containing a 
second contribution to the Herpetology of the Solomon Islands. It gave 
an account of a collection made chiefly at two localities, Fauro Island and 
Alu, Shortland Island, by Mr. Woodford. Seven species were described as 
new to Science, amongst which was a new genus and species of Batrachians 
of the family Ranidse, proposed to be called Batrachylodes vertehralis. 

Mr. Oldfield Thomas read a paper describing the milk-dentition of the 
Koala, Fhascolarctos cinereus, which was shown to be in the same state of 
reduction as had been described by Prof. Flower in the case of the Th\ lacine. 

A second communication from Mr. Boulenger contained a description of 
a new Gecko of the genus Chondrodactylus from the Kalahari Desert, South 
Africa, based on a specimen which had been presented to the Natural 
History Museum by Mr. J. Jenner Weir. The author proposed to call it 
C. weiri.—V. L. Sclater, Secretary. 

Entomological Society of London. 

March 2, 1887. — Dr. D. Sharp, President, in the chair. 

The Rev. T. W. Daltry, M.A., F.L.S., of Madeley Vicar.tge, Stafford- 
shire; Dr. Neville Manders, of the Army Medical Staff, Mooltan, India; 
Mr. Alfred Sich, of Chiswick; and Mr. J. T. M'Dougall, of Blackheath, 
were elected Fellows. 

Mr. Slater exhibited, on behalf of Mr. Mutch, two specimens of Arctia 
caja, one of which was bred from a larva fed on lime-leaves, and the other 
from a larva fed on low plants, the ordinary pabulum of the species. The 
object of the exhibition was to show the effect of food in causing variation 
in Lepidoptera. 


Mr. H. J. Elwes exhibited a large number of Lepidoptera-Heterocera, 
caught by him in the verandah of the CUib at Darjeeling, in Sikkim, at an 
elevation of 7000 feet, on the night of the 4th of August, 1886, between 
9 p.m. and 1 a.m. The specimens exhibited represented upwards of 1'20 
species, — which was believed to I)e a larger number than had ever before 
been caught iu one night, — including Bombyces of the genera Zeuzera, 
Stauropus, Dasychira, Lopliopteryx, &c. ; Noctuae of the genera Diphthera, 
Orapldphora, Gonitis, Plusia, &c. ; and Geonietrse of the genera Boarmia, 
Odoiitoptera, Urapteryx, Cidaria, Acidalia, Pseudocoremia, and Eupithacia. 
Mr. Elwes stated that Mr. A. R. Wallace's observations on the conditions 
most favourable for collecting moths in the tropics were fully confirmed by 
his own experience during four months' collecting in Sikkim and the Khasias. 
The conditions referred to by Mr. AVallace were a dark wet night in the 
rainy season ; a situation commanding a large e.Ktent of virgin forest and 
uncultivated ground ; and a whitewashed verandah, not too high, with 
powerful lamps in it. He said that on many nights during June and July 
he had taken from si.\ty to eighty species, and during his stay he had 
collected between 600 and 700 species. 

Mr. Elwes also made some remarks on the Khasia Hills, the southern 
slopes of which he believed to be the true habitat of the greater part of those 
insects described many years ago by Prof. Westwood and others as coming 
from Sylhet, which was situated in a flat cultivated plain, under water 
during the rainy season, and not many miles distant from these hills. In 
consequence of the unhealthy and extremely hot and wet climate of these 
hills no Europeans had done much collecting there, but the specimens 
were chiefly caught by the natives and brought into the town of Sylhet 
for sale. 

A discussion ensued on the remarks made by Mr. Elwes, in which 
Mr. M'Lachlan, Dr. Sharp, Mr. Champion, Mr. Kirby, and others took jDart. 

The Rev. W. W. Fowler exhibited a specimen of Cathoriniocerus socius, 
taken a few years ago at Sandown, Isle of Wight. 

Mr. S. Stevens exhibited specimens of Cathormiocerus maritinius and 
Platytarsus hirtus. 

Mr. F. Grut said he was requested by Mens. Peringuey, of Cape Town, 
to announce that the latter was engaged on a monograph of the genus 
Hipporrhinus, and that he would be glad to receive specimens and other 
assistance from British entomologists. 

Mr. Gervase F. Mathew, R.N., communicated a paper entitled " Descrip- 
tions of new species of Rhopalocera from the Solomon Islands." 

Mr. George T. Baker communicated the following papers ; — " Descrip- 
tion of a new species of the Lepidopterous genus Caraina, together with a 
few notes on the genus"; and " Description of a new genus of Rhopalocera 
allied to Thecla." — H. Goss, Hon. Secretary. 


Zool.May 1887. 

Plate 3. 

L.Hutchmson Ktln 

TKe Noc"tu.le. 
Vksperuugo noctxidjcu. 

"West, NewmaTi &~ Co-ainp 



Vol. XL] MAY, 1887. [No. J25. 

By the Editor. 

Plate III. 

It is satisfactory to note the increased attention which is 
being paid to the British Bats by several of our esteemed 
correspondents. Respecting many of the species, indeed in 
regard to the majority of them, it must be confessed there is 
still a great deal to be learnt which time only will disclose ; but 
should success attend our efforts to procure and figure from the 
life every one of our British species in turn, so as to render their 
appearance familiar to our readers, we may hope ere long with 
their assistance to place on record a far more satisfactory account 
of them than at present exists. 

According to the best authorities, there is reason to believe 
that at least fifteen species of bats are to be found in the British 
Islands, although in regard to one of them at least, Vespertilio 
murinus, Schreber, the evidence of its occurrence in this country 
is of an extremely slender character.* 

* In the second edition of Bell's ' British Quadi-npeds,' 1874, it is stated 
(p. 49) that V. murinus " has hitherto only been taken in the gardens of the 
British Museum," and the author adds that he has •' failed in meeting with 
any other record of its appearance than that given, which is not altogether 
satisfactory." Tn our annotated copy of this work we have a marginal note 
to the effect that the following additional localities have been reported for 
Vesjjertilio murinus, namely, Sherborne, Dorset (C. W. Dale), Epping 
(Doubleday), and Freshwater, Isle of Wight (Hadfield) ; with the further 


Another species, called by Bell the Particoloured Bat, 
Vespenigo discolor, Natterer, has been included in the British 
list on the strength of a single example in the British Museum, 
which was taken many years ago at Plymouth by Dr. Leach.* 
To this, however, we maj^ add that Mr. John Hancock has a 
second example of this species which was captured in Yarmouth 
Koads in 1834. t 

Bechstein's Bat, Vespertilio bechsteini, Leisler, is of quite as 
rare occurrence in this country, being, as Bell states (p. 52), 
' only known as British from the occurrence of specimens taken 
by Mr. Millard in the New Forest, and now in the British 
Museum." We have the excellent authority of our old friend 
Mr. Bond for stating that two specimens of Bechstein's Bat have 
been taken at Preston, near Brighton. The impression that it 
had also been met with at Godstow in Berkshire (Zool. 1884, 
p. 483) has been corrected by Mr. J. E. Kelsall (Zool. 1885, p. 146), 
who identified the specimen in question as V. nattereri. 

Of the fifteen British species above referred to, fourteen only 
are noticed by Bell. The fifteenth is Vespertilio dasycneme, Boie, 
which is reported to have been captured on the banks of 
the Stour. X It is thus described by Dr. G. E. Dobson, 
whose valuable Catalogues of Asiatic Chiroptera, and of the 
Collection of Bats in the British Museum form the latest and 
best text-books on this subject: — 

" Vespertilio dasycneme, Boie, Isis, 1825, p. 1200. The ears 
are comparatively shorter than in V. daubentonii ; laid forwards 
they do not reach the end of the nose; tlie inner margin of the 
ear is straight in its lower ascending portion for about one-third 
its length, then regularly convex to the tip, which is obtusely 
rounded off; the outer margin is straight beneath the tip for 
about one-third of its length, becaming gradually convex and 


remark that " Mr. Blake Kuox also has received Irish specimens." We 
confess, however, to have cousideraLle misgivings whether the species in 
any of these cases has been correctly determined, and we should be very 
glad if any reader of these lines could enable us to clear up the uncertainty 
with which the subject is attended. 

=■■ Cf. Hep. Plymouth Inst. p. 43, and Bellamy, Nat. Hist. S.Devon, p. 193. 

t Cf. Trans. Norfolk Nat. Soc. 1873 - 74, p. 80. 

I Cf. Buckton, Proc. Linn. Soc. 1853, p. 260, where the species is 
treated as a variety of V. daubentonii. Tomes (Zool. 1854, p. 4361) 
considered it to be dasycneme. 


terniinatiiig abruptly opposite the base of the inner margin. 
The tragus terminates in an obtuse rounded point; the inner 
margin is slightly concave, the outer convex. 

" Thumb armed with a very large claw. Wings from the 
distal extremity of the tibia ; the point of origin of the wing- 
membrane is very sharply defined. The calcaneum extends 
rather more than half way between the ankle and the tail. 

" Fur above dark at the base, the hairs with light brown 
extremities ; beneath black at the base, the extremities white. 

" Both the first and second upper premolars are drawn 
inwards, owing to the proximity of the third large premolar to 
the canine ; the second premolar is extremely small, and more 
internal than the first. The lower incisors are not crowded ; the 
second lower premolar is about half the size of the first premolar ; 
the third premolar is less than the canine in vertical extent. 

" Length : head and body, 2'4 in. ; tail, 2 in. ; head, 075 in. ; 
ear, 0*6 in.; tragus, 0'3 XO'UOin.; forearm, TS in. ; thumb, 0"35; 
second finger, 3'lin.; fourth finger, 2"4 in. ; tibia, 0*8 in. ; cal- 
caneum, 0'65 in.; foot and claws, 0"4 in." 

Adopting Dr. Dobson's nomenclature, but taking the species 
in the order named by Bell, for greater convenience of reference, 
it may be observed that the fifteen species of bats now regarded 
as British belong to two very distinct families, VespertilionidcB and 
RhinolophicUe, and are referable to five genera, namely, Vesperugo 
(five species), Vespe^-tilio (six species), Plecotus (one species), 
Synotus (one species), and Rhinolophus (two species). Of these 
the first four genera belong to the family 


The members of this family are easily distinguishable by 
their simple nostrils terminating the conical moderately elongated 
muzzle, by the long tail wholly contained within the interfemoral 
membrane, and by the upper incisors which are separated by a 
wide space and placed near the canines. Their eyes are minute ; 
and the inner margins of the ears arise from the sides of the 
head, not from the forehead. 

Genus I. Vesperugo, Keyserling & Blasius, Wiegni. Archiv. 
1839, p. 312. 

Muzzle generally very broad and obtuse, the glandular pro- 


minences between the eyes and the nostrils well developed, 
increasing the width of the face ; crown of the head flat, or very 
slightly raised above the face-line ; nostrils opening sublaterally 
by simple crescentic apertures on the front surface of naked 
extremity of the muzzle ; ears separate, generally much shorter 
than the head, broad and triangular, the outer margin extending 
forwards beyond the base of the tragus, the internal basal lobe 
rounded ; tragus generally short and obtuse, the outer margin 
straight or concave. Tail less than the length of the head and 
body ; the calcaneum generally supports on its posterior margin 
a small rounded cutaneous lobe (the post-calcaneal lobe), which 
in this genus reaches its greatest development ; feet short and 
broad ; membranes thin. 

^ . . T 2—2 1—1 2—2 1—1 3—3 

Dentition. — Inc. —77— ; c. fZIi' P-™' oll^ °^ 2"Il2 ' ^' 3^^' 

Outer upper incisors unicuspidate and shorter than the inner 
incisors, often minute, rarely absent ; first upper premolar minute 
or absent ; first lower premolar in the tooth row, not crowded, 
its summit slightly outwards. 

Species, noctula, Schreber ; leisleri, Kuhl ; discolor, Natterer; 
piinstrellus, Schreber ; and serotinus, Schreber. The descriptions 
of all these will be found in Bell's work. 

Genus 3. Vespertilio, Keyserling & Blasius; Wiegm. 
Archiv. 1839, p. 306. 

Muzzle long ; glandular prominence between the nostrils and 
eyes small, scarcely increasing the width of the face ; nostrils 
opening sublaterally by simple crescentic apertures ; crown of the 
head vaulted, slightly elevated above the face-line ; ears separate, 
oval, longer than broad, generally equalling at least — often 
exceeding — the length of the head ; the internal base lobe 
angular, the external margin terminating opposite the base of the 
tragus or very slightly in front of it ; tragus long, generally acute ; 
the inner margin slightly convex or straight ; the outer margin 
convex below, straight or slightly concave above. Tail less than 
(or very rarely equal to) the length of the head and body ; post- 
calcaneal lobe absent or very small. Face hairy. 

Dentition. — Incisors —p—'i the upper incisors nearly equal ; 

the summit of the outer incisor on each side directed vertically 


downwards or curved slightly outwards, that of the inner 
incisor directed forwards and inwards; the inner incisor 
on each side generally with a distinct second cusp placed pos- 

teriorly and externally ; premolars ^^ ; first and second upper 

premolars very small, the second premolar often minute and 

pressed inwards ; molars ^^ ; the last upper molar rather less 

than half the antepenultimate molar. 

Species: — murinus, Schreber ; bechsteini, Leisler ; nattereri, 
Kuhl; dauhentojiii, Leisler ; mystac inus, Leislev ; dasycne me, Boie. 
The descriptions of these (with the exception of dasycneme, given 
on p. 1G2) will be found in Bell's work. 

Genus 3. Plecotus, Geoffroy, Descript. de I'Egypte, ii. p. 113 

Crown of the head elevated above the short and flattened 
muzzle. Nostrils opening on the upper surface at the extremity 
of the muzzle, in front of semilunar naked depressions. Ears 
united above the forehead, very large, the outer margin ending 
opposite the base of the tragus, the inner margin with an abrupt 
rounded projection directed inwards above the base; tragus very 
large, tapering upwards, with a lobe at the base of the outer 
margin. Feet slender ; toes more than half the length of the 
whole foot. Tail equal in length to the head and body, contained 
(except part of the last caudal vertebra) within the interfemoral 
membrane. Post-calcaneal lobe distinct. Skull considerably 
vaulted ; bones forming the brain -case very thin ; occipital and 
sagital crests scarcely developed. 

,^ . . -, 2-2 1—1 2—2 3-3 

Dentition. — Inc. — p— ; c. yHi > P'"^* q^Hq ' *^' 3^^* 

Species : — auritus, Linn. Described by Bell. 

Genus 4. Synotus, Keyserling & Blasius, Wiegm. Archiv. 
1839, p. 305. 

Crown of the head distinctly elevated above the short and 
obtuse muzzle. Nostrils opening on the upper surface at the 
extremity of the muzzle, in front of a naked space, bounded 
laterally by the raised edges of the very prominent sides of the 
face ; anteriorly the upper lip is divided on each side by a deep 


groove passing down from the nostril; and in the intervening 
space between and below the nostrils is prominent and rounded. 
Ears confined at the bases of their inner margins, which meet on 
the forehead slightly in front of the eyes ; the outer margin is 
also carried forward in front of the eyes, terminating on the face 
above the upper lip, so that the eye is contained within the 
external ear; tragus triangular above and attenuated towards the 
tip. Feet slender with long toes. Tail nearly as long or longer 
than the body. Skull considerably vaulted behind the short 

^ . . -r 2-2 1—1 2—2 3—3 

Dentition. — Inc. — ^— ; c. t^^ ; P-m- ^zi^) ' ™" S^S' 

Species: — barbastellus, Schreber. Described b.y Bell, who, 
however, has created some confusion by describing it (p. 81) as 
Barbastellus daubentonii, this specific name belonging to a ver}' 
different species, Vespertilio daubentonii (oj). cit., p. 60). 

The bats belonging to this family are readily distinguishable 
by the curious form of their foliaceous nasal appendages, and by 
their rudimentary premaxillary bones supporting two minute, 
usually bilobed incisors ; their molars are acutely tubercular, and 
enable them to crush with ease the hard cases of coleopterous 
insects which (from remains found in their stomachs) appear to 
constitute a large proportion of their food. Their eyes are 
minute, and often with difficulty discovered in spirit specimens ; 
the eye -ball is extremely small, and the optic nerve reduced to 
the thickness of a very fine thread, contrasting remarkably with 
the development of the auditory and olfactory nerves in the same 

Genus 5. Rhinolophus, Geoflfroy, Desm. Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. 
Nat. xix. p. 383 (1803). 

Nose-leaf very complicated, consisting of three distinct poi'- 
tions — anterior, central, and posterior ; tlie anterior horizontal 
portion is horse-shoe-shaped, usually angularly emarginate in 
front, containing within its circumference the nasal orifices and 
the central erect nasal process ; the posterior nose-leaf is 
triangular, erect, with cells on its anterior surface ; the central 
process rises between and beliind the nasal orifices, is flattened 



anteriorly, and posteriorly sends backwards a vertical laterally 
compressed process, which is either connected with the front 
surface of the nose-leaf or free. Base of the outer side of the 
ear expanded, forming a large antitragus. Wings very large; 
metacarpal bone of fourth finger exceeding that of second in 
length. Basioccipital very narrow between auditory bullae, in 
most species linear; cochleae prominent, deeply grooved exter- 
nally ; foramen rotundum united with sphenoidal fissure. 

2 1—1 2—2 3—3 

c. q — T ; p.m- 3^^ ; m- 

Dentition. — Inc. 

4 ' - i_i ' i' 3—3 ' " 3-3" 

Second lower premolar generally minute and placed outside 
the teeth-row ; first upper premolar minute, pointed, standing in 
the teeth-row, or lying in the outer angle between the closely 
approximated canine and second large premolar. 

S-pecies:—fernt77i-equinu7n and hipposideros. Both described 
by Bell. 

Arranged in tabular form the British species of Chiroptera 

stand thus : — 

Fam. Vespertilionid^. 

f Gen. Vesperur/o. 

Geii. Vespertilio. - 

Gen. Plecotus. 
Gen. Synotus. 


{ discolor. 







Fam. Rhinolophid^. 

^ T17 • 7 7 {ferrum-equinum. 
^^''■^^'""^''i'^'''- [hipposideros. 

The species, of which a figure is now given, Vesperugo noctula 
(Plate III.), is doubtless the best known of the larger bats in 
this country, and is very widely dispersed. Kegarding its 
distribution in the British Islands, Bell states that it is confined 
to England, the northeinmost locality known to him being 
Northallerton in Yorkshire, a statement repeated by Alston 
('Fauna of Scotland,' 1880, p. 7), and by the authors of the 
'Handbook of Yorkshire Vertebrates,' 1881. But, although it 
seems pretty clear that it does not occur in Scotland, or at least 


has not been satisfactorily identified there,* the case is apparently 

otherwise in Ireland. For there is reason to believe that some 

specimens of a large bat taken at Tandragee, Co. Armagh, and 

reported to be Vesperugo leisleri, were in reality V. noctula. To 

be more explicit. In ' The Zoologist ' for July, 1874, Mr. R. M. 

Barrington gave a very interesting account (pp. 4071 - 4074) of 

the discoverj', in June, 1868, of a colony of large bats in the 

demesne of the Duke of Manchester at Tandragee, Co. Armagh, 

and of the subsequent capture of several (presumably of the 

same species) at the same place in May, 1874. Mr. Barrington 

identified them as V. leisleri, observing (p. 4072) "they were all 

of the hairy-armed species. I have presented two specimens to 

the British Museum." These two specimens, at our particular 

request, were examined by Dr. Dobson in 1876, when preparing 

his Monograph of the Asiatic Chiroptera, and he pronounced 

them to be immature examples of V. noctula. Considering his 

intimate acquaintance with this order of mammals, it seems to 

us that this circumstance establishes the fact of the occurrence 

of the Noctule in Ireland, while it does not necessarily invalidate 

other records of the occurrence in the same country of Leisler's 

hairy-armed bat.t We would earnestly invite the attention of 

Irish naturalists to this matter, and beg them to re-examine such 

specimens as they may possess, or have access to, and favour us 

with their conclusions. It may be useful to add, in the words 

of Dr. Dobson, that in all respects, except in the relatival size and 

position of the incisors, V. leisleri resembles V. noctula, and 

appears on an external examination to be but a small form of 

that species. But while the outer incisor on each side in 

V. noctula is but half the transverse diameter at its base of the 

inner incisor, in this species it is equal to it ; the lower incisors 

also stand in the direction of the jaws, and are not crowded. 

Length of an adult male V. leisleri (preserved in alcohol), head 

and body, 2'3 in.; tail, 1"05 in.; head, 0*7 in.; ear, 0*6 in,; 

■!= Fleming (Brit. An., p. 6) identified the Vespertilio auriculatus of 
Walker's ' Fauna Scotica ' with V. noctula, and this species is stated by Sir 
Wm. Jardine to have been "seen" near the Eiver Annan in Dumfriesshire 
(New Stat. Acct. Dumfries, p. 175), but its occurrence in Scotland has not 
been confirmed. 

I Cf. Bell, p. 27. Zool. 1874, pp. 4071, 4'236 ; Zool. 1875, pp. 4419, 4532; 
Zool. 1883, p. 116. 



tragus, 0'2 X 0"15 in. ; forearm, 1'5 in.; thumb, 0'25 in.; second 
finger, 2'7 in. ; fourth finger, 1'8 in. ; tibia, 0'65 in ; foot and claws, 
0"3 in. Or, to compare the measurements of the two species : — 

Both males. 









4th Tibia, 

Foot & 

V. noctula . . 
V. leisleri . . 




0-75 0-25 
0-6 0-2 




2-1 0-75 
1-8 0-65 


To show how easily a mistake may be made, even by a 
practised observer, without a verj'^ careful comparison, we may 
remark that V. leisleri has been recorded to have occurred in 
Norfolk, near Norwich (Paine, Ann. Nat, Hist. ii. p. 181, 1839), 
where fourteen were said to have been taken from a hollow tree ; 
but it was subsequently stated [torn, cit, p. 481) that the speci- 
mens in question had been examined by the Rev. L. Jenyns, who 
was of opinion that the species was not V. leisleri, though he 
was uncertain whether it was the young of V. noctula or a 
distinct species. 

Bell states (p. 18) that the Noctule is a tree-loving species, 
and that not a single instance had come to his knowledge of its 
retirement to buildings during the day. Doubtless hollow trees 
usually afi'ord it shelter, but, as an exception to the rule, we may 
remark that in West Sussex we have known these bats to resort 
to the roofs of old thatched cottages, and have seen them go up 
under the eaves. 

Mr. W. Harcourt Bath, referring to the abundance of this 
species in the midland counties (' The Field,' Oct. 9th, 1886), 
states that in the day-time they conceal themselves in holes of 
trees, and among ivy. 

Gilbert White remarked that he never saw the Noctule on the 
wing till the end of April, nor later than July. This is curious ; 
for, unless the habits of the animal have changed, he might have 
observed it in a parish which he occasionally visited (the parish 
of Harting, on the borders of Hampshire and Sussex) during the 
months of August and September. We have repeatedly seen 
them on the wing there during these months, and well remember 
shooting two of them for a friend during the first week of 
September. A marginal note in our annotated copy of Bell's 
work indicates that John Wolley saw the Noctule in Cambridge- 
shire as late as the first week of November. 


Another observation of Gilbert White was to the effect that 
this bat emits a very offensive odour, a circumstance which must 
have been remarked by every one who has handled a living 
specimen. Mr. D'Urban, of Exeter, states that it possesses two 
large glands m the mouth, from which this odour is emitted. It 
is much infested with parasites, as indeed is the case with other 
species of bats which we have examined in a living state. An 
experiment of putting a minute drop of prussic acid on the 
tongue of a Noctule, in order to kill it speedily, resulted in the 
unlooked-for effect of causing all the parasites to die and drop off 
before the animal itself had ceased to live. While on the subject 
of parasites, it may be well to direct attention to Prof. Westwood's 
paper on the parasites of bats, published in the ' Transactions of 
the Zoological Society,' vol. i. pp. 275 - 294. This paper, which 
is illustrated, will be found useful by those who wish to learn 
something on this subject. 

It is well known that the Noctule is gregarious, and that 
large numbers are sometimes found clustered together in hollow 
trees. Mr. Gurney states that the sexes live in separate colonies, 
the females being more numerous. Upon this we may remark 
that in February last an old and decayed tree was felled in the 
Bishop of London's park at Fulham, in the hollow of which were 
found clinging a solitary pair of Noctules. They were brought 
to us alive the following day, and proved to be male and female. 
From one of these the accompanying portrait was drawn by 
Mr. G. E. Lodge. Note the position in which the tail is carried 
as compared with that of R. ferrum-equinum (Plate I.) 

We have no information as to the occurrence of this species 
in Wales, although it is met with as far to the south-west as 
Cornwall (c/. Cocks, 'Naturalist,' i. (1851), p. 37). We should 
be glad also to receive some confirmation (or refutation) of the 
statement (Bell, p. 23) that in England the northernmost locality 
from which specimens have been received is Northallerton, in 
Yorkshire. Certainly it is not included in the excellent Catalogue 
of the Mammalia of Northumberland and Durham (Trans. Tyne- 
side Nat. Field Club, vol. vi. (1864), pp. 111-177),* although, 
strange to say, a single specimen of V. serotinus (usually regarded 
as more southern in its distribution) is stated by them to have 
been taken at Cleadon, and to be preserved in the museum at 

* Mr. R. B, Lee informs lis that it occurs at Kendal. 


Newcastle-on-Tyne. Is this possibly V. noctula ? The " rich 
chestnut colour of the fur " particularly alluded to by the authors 
of the catalogue cited is a description not inapplicable to 
V. noctula. 

By G. a. Boulenger. 

Having received several applications for information re- 
specting the nomenclature of South African Snakes, I have 
thought that the publication of the following list would be 
welcome not only to naturalists in the colony but also to 
herpetologists elsew^iere. The grand work of Sir Andrew Smith 
(1838—49) is an imperfect guide to the identification of South 
African reptiles, for the reason that the species described are 
not arranged in systematic order, and that a great number, 
often the commonest, are either entirely left out or alluded 
to by name only, without any definition of their characters. 
The standard ophiological works of Dumeril and Bibron, 
Giinther, and Jan, to which I have constantly referred in the 
following list, as being almost indispensable to the student, 
are likewise incomplete and out of date. I have therefore 
added an artificial key (the characters selected applying only 
to South African forms) to genera and species, which I hope 
will greatly facilitate their recognition, and perhaps lead to 
the discovery of some that may be new to science, or hitherto 
unrecorded from South Africa. I have also indicated the 
localities whence specimens have been received by the British 
Museum, and drawn attention to the desiderata. I have taken 
the 25° lat. S. as the northern limit of the S. African district. 

1. Stenostomatidj^. Bliud, worm-like burrowing snakes, witli the bellv 
scaled like the back ; the shield under which the eye is situated 
borders the lip. 

A single genus. Stenostoma. 

TI. Typhlopid.e. Blind, worm-like burrowing snakes, with the belly 
scaled like the back ; the shield under which the eye is situated 
does not reach the lip. 

A single genus. Typhlops. 


III. BoiDJi. A spur (rudiment of hiud limb) on each side of the vent. 

Scales very small, more than fifty across the body ; belly shielded. 

Pupil linear, erect. 

A single genus. Python. 

IV. CoLUBRiD^. Head with large symmetrical shields. Belly shielded. 

No grooved maxillary fangs anteriorly. 

A. Subcaudal shields in a single row, like the ventrals ; eye very small, 

with round pupil. Uriechis. 

B. Subcaudals divided. 

1. Scales smooth, equal ; pupil round. 

a. Eostral shield very large, with horizontal cutting edge. 


b. Rostral without cutting edge. 

«. Nostril pierced between two shields, the second of which 
touches the eye. .... Chokistodon. 

/3. Two or more shields on a line between the nostril and 
the eye. 
=:= Loreal shield (between nasal and prseocular) not much 
longer than deep. 
15 scales across the middle of the body. - - Homalosoma. 
27 or 29 scales across the middle of the body. - Coronella. 
17 or 19 scales across the middle of the body. Psammophylax. 
*t- Loreal shield at least twice as long as deep ; 15 or 17 
scales across the middle of the body. 
Snout pointed and strongly projecting beyond the lower lip ; 
tail not five times the length of the head. Rhamphiopuis. 
Snout long and obtuse ; tail long ; frontal (interorbital) shield 

narrow. Psammophis. 

Snout obtuse; colour green. - • - Philothamnus. 

2. Dorsal scales keeled. 

Eye extremely large, with round pupil ; vertebral scales broader 

than the others, unicarinate. - - . - Bucephalus. 
Eye very large, with horizontal pupil. - - Dryophis. 
Eye moderale ; vertebral scales broader than the others, 

bicarinate. ...... Heterolepis. 

Eye moderate, with vertical pupil ; scales equal. Dasypeltis. 
3. Scales smooth ; pupil vertically elliptic. 

a. Head broad, considerably broader than the neck ; 19 scales 
across the middle of the body. - - Leptodika. 

h. Head not very distinct from the neck. 
Nostril in a single nasal; 17 scales across the middle of the 

body. ....... Lycophidium. 

Nostril between two nasals; 19 to 23 scales across the middle 


of the body; anterior maxillary teeth but slightly larger than 

the others. Lamprophis. 

Nostril between two nasals ; 23 or more scales across the 
middle of the body ; anterior teeth considerably larger than 

the others. Boodon. 

V. Elapid^. Head with large symmetrical shields. Belly shielded. 
Long grooved or canaliculate maxillary fangs anteriorly. Poisonous. 

A. Eye large or moderate. 

1. Rostral shield not of unusual proportions. 

a. Dorsal scales smooth. 
Anal shield single. -.-.... Naia. 
Anal divided ; colour green. - - - Dendraspis. 

h. Dorsal scales keeled. 
Two labial shields enter the eye; scales strongly keeled. 


Eye separated from the labials by a subocular shield; dorsal 

scales feebly keeled, laterals smooth. - - . Causus. 

2. Rostral shield enormous, triangular. - - Aspidelaps. 

B. Eye very small. 

13 or 15 scales across the body. - - . . Elaps. 

21 or more scales across the body ; colour uniform blackish. 

VI. ViPERiD^. Upper surface of head covered with small scales. Pupil 
vertical, linear. Poisonous. 

A single genus. • - - ■ - . . Vipkra. 


1. Stenostoma, Wagl. 
1. Stenostoma nigricans, Schleg. ; Durn. & Bibr. vi. p. 326 ; 
Smith, 111. pi. li. fig. 4, pi. liv. figs. 21, 25 ; Jan, Icon. 2, v. & vi. 8. 
S. conjunctinn, Jan, Icon. 2, v. & vi. 9. " Inhabits the interior 
of South Africa, and is generally found under large flat stones, 
or other bodies lying on the surface of the e^-th." — Smith. 
Port Elizabeth (B. M.) 

II. Typhlopid^. 

2. Typhloijs, Schn. 

A. 28 to 32 scales round the middle of the body; snout with 

angular edge. 
Eye entirely under the ocular; edge of snout sharp, cutting. - delalandli. 
Eye under the suture between the ocular and the praeocular. - hibronii. 

B. 20 to 2(3 scales round the body; snout rounded. 

Upper part of rostral shield broader than the contiguous (nasal) shields ; 
nasal semidivided ; eye entirely under the ocular. - - verticalls. 


Upper part of rostral broader than the contiguous shields; nasal com- 
pletelj' divided; eye under the suture between the ocular and 
the praeocular. ....... viossaiiibicus. 

Upper part of rostral not or scarcely wider than the contiguous shields ; 
20 scales round the body. ...... capeiisis. 

2. Typhlops delalandii, D. & B. Onychocephalus delalandii, 
Dum. & Bibr. vi. p. 273 ; Smith, 111. pi. li. fig. 1, & pi. liv. 
figs. 1 — 4. TyiMops smithii, Jan, Icon. 1, v. 5. Typhloiis 
lalandii, Jan, Icon. 4, iv. 1. " Is pretty widely distributed over 
the southern parts of Africa, and is generally found under large 
stones and trunks of decayed trees, or in soil broken up by the 
plough, or otherwise displaced by the spade or pick-axe." — Smith. 
Cape, Karroo (B. M.) 

3. Typhlops hihronii, Smith. Onychocephalus hihronii, Smith, 
111. pis. li. fig. 2, & pi. liv. figs. 5 — 8. " Inhabits the country to 
the northward of Latakoo." — Smith. King William's Town, 
Port Natal, Lessouto (B. M.) 

4. Typhlops verficcdis, Smith. Onychocephalus rerticalis, 
Smith, 111. pi. liv. fig. a. " Inhabits the interior districts of 
South AMcSi."— Smith. B. M. 

5. Typhlops mossamhicus, Peters ; Jan, Icon. 5, v. 3. Delagoa 
Bay (Jan). 

6. Typhlops capensis, Smith. Onychocephcdus ccqyensis, Smith, 
111. pis. li. fig. 3, & liv. figs. 9— 16. "Inhabits the interior of 
South Africa."— Smji/i. Cape Town (B. M.) 

III. BoiDiE. 

3. Python, Cuv. ■ 

7. Python natalensis, Smith, 111. pi. ix. P. sehce, var. 
natalensis, Jan, Icon. 8, iv. " This snake was formerly an in- 
habitant of the district now within the Cape Colony. At present 
it is not to be found within hundreds of miles of the boundaries 
of the colony, and few sj)ecimens have been obtained nearer than 
Port Natal."— ^mii/t. Natal (B. M.) 


4. Uriechis, Peters. 
15 scales across the middle of the body ; pale yellowish brown, head and 

neck black. capensis. 

25 scales across the body ; uniform black. - - - microlepidutus. 


8. Uriechis capensis, Smith. Elapomorphxis cupensis, Smith, 
111., App. p. 16. Aparallactus capensis, Smith, 1. c. Uriechis 
capensis, Jan, Icon. 15, i. 5. " Inhabits Kaffirland, to the east- 
ward of the Cape Colony." — Smith. Kaffirland (B. M.) 

9. Uriechis microlepidotus, Giinther, Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 
(3), V. 1860, p. 168, pi. ix. Natal (B. M.) 

5. Choristodon, Smith. 

10. Choristodon concolor, Smith, 111., App. p. 18. " Inhabits 
Kaffirland to the eastward of the Cape Colony." — Smith, Not 
in the British Museum. 

6. Temnorhynchus, Smith. 

11. Temnorhynchus sundevallii. Smith, 111., App. p. 17. 
Bhinostoma cupreum, Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 9. " Inhabits Kaffir- 
land, to the eastward of the Cape Colony." — Smith. Orange 
Eiver (B. M.) 

7. Homalosoma, Wagl. 

12. Homalosoma lutrix, L. Homalosoma arctiventris, Smith, 
111., App. p. 16. Homalosoma lutrix, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 110; 
Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 20; Jan, Icon. 13, iii. 3. "Inhabits the 
whole of Southern Africa, and is generally observed among dry 
grass or in loose soil, more especially near the roots of shrubs." 
—Smith. Cape, Natal (B. M.) 

8. Coronella, Laur. 

13. Coronella cana, L. -Coluher canus, Smith, 111. pis. xiv. — 
xvii. Coronella cana, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 613; Giinth. Col. Sn. 
p. 40. Cape, Cape Cook (B. M.) 

Black variety, Coronella phocarum, Giinth. Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1872, p. 836. Eobben Island (B. M.) 

9. Psammophylax, Fitz. 
Rostral shield not deeper than broad, not extending between the inter- 
nasals. -...-... multiuiaculatus. 
Rostral deeper than broad, wedged in between the internasals. rhomheatus. 

14. Psammophylax mxdtimaculatus, Smith. Amplorhinus 
multimaculatus, Smith, 111. pi. Ivii. Dipsas smithii, Dum. & Bibr. 
vii. p. 1162. Coronella multimaculata, Gunth. Col. Su. p. 38. 


Psammophylax multimacidatus, Jan, Icon. 19, i. 1. " Earely ob- 
tained in South Africa; found in arid barren localities." — Smith. 
Cape (B. M.) 

15. Psammophylax rJiomheatus, L. Trimerorhinus rhombeatus, 
Smith, III. pi. Ivi. Dipsas rhomheata, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1154. 
Psammophylax rhombeatus, Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 31. N. vulg., 
" Shaap Sticker." " Occurs throughout the whole of South 
Africa, and is generally found in dry barren situations, but not 
unfrequently also in grassy districts." — Smith. Cape (B. M.) 

10. Rhamphiophis, Peters. 

16. Rhamphiophis multimacxdatus, Smith. Coronella miilti- 
macidata, Smith, 111. pi. Ixi. Dipsina midtimacidata, Jan, Icon. 
19, ii. 1. " Country of the Bushmen, near to the Orange Eiver. 
Burrow in the sand." — Smith. Damaraland (B. M.) 

11. Psammophis, Schleg. 

17 scales across the middle of the body. - - - - - sihilans. 
15 scales across the middle of the body. ----- crucifer. 

17. Psammophis sibilans, L. ; Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 136 ; Jan, 
Icon. 84, iii. P. moliniger, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 891. In sandy 
localities. Cape, Port Natal, Kaffraria, Orange Eiver (B. M.) 
Curiously, this as well as the next species are omitted from 
Smith's work. 

18. Psammophis crucifer, Merr. ; Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 892 ; 
Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 185 ; Jan, Icon. 34, iv. 8. Cape, Namaqua- 
land (B. M.) 

12. Philothamnus, Smith. 

Ventral shields without a lateral keel. - . . . hoplogaster. 
Ventral sliields with a lateral keel. natalensis. 

19. Philothamnus hoplogaster, Giinth. AhcetuUa hoplogaster, 
Giinth. Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. (3), xi. 1868, p. 284. Port Natal, 
Damaraland (B. M.) 

20. Philothamnus natalensis. Smith, 111. pi. Ixiv. "Frequents 
shrubs and trees at and in the neighbourhood of Port Natal." — 
Smith. Cape, King William's Town, Port Natal, Orange Eiver, 
Damaraland (B. M.) 


13. Bucephalus, Smith. 

21. Bucephalus capensis, Smith, 111. pis. x. — xiii. ; Giinth. 
Col. Sn. p. 143. Bucephalus typxis, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 878 ; 
Jan, Icon. 32, iv. N. vulg., "Boom-slange," Tree Snake. Port 
Natal (B. M.) 

Uniform bright green variety : B. viridis, Smith, pi. iii. Old 

14. Dryophis, Boie. 

22. Dryophis kirtlandii, Hallow. Thelotornis capensis, Smith, 
111., App. p. 19. Dryiophis kirtlandii, Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 156. 
Thelotornis kirtlandii, Peters, Eeise n. Mossamb. iii. p. 131. 
"Inhabits Kaffirland and the country towards Port Natal." — 
Smith. Arboreal. The British Museum has not yet received 
this species from South Africa. 

15. Lycophidi'um, Fitz. 

23. Lycophidium capensis, Smith. Lycodon capensis, Smith, 
111. pi. V. Lycophidion horstockii, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 4] 2 ; 
Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 197 ; Jan, Icon. 36, iii. 3. Kurichane, lat. 

25° S. (Smith). Cape, Port Elizabeth, Natal (B. M.) 

16. Laviprophis, Fitz. 

23 scales across the middle of the body, those of the vertebral series 

larger. ..--...-. aurora. 
23 scales across the middle of the body, equal. - - - Jiskii. 
19 scales across the middle of the body. .... rufulus. 

24. Laviprophis aurora, L. ; Smith, 111., App. p. 19; 
Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 431 ; Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 195. " Occurs 
throughout South Africa, but nowhere in abundance. In the 
Colony it is, from its moving much during the night, known, 
like Aspidclaps lubricus, by the name of * Nacht Slang.' " — Smith. 
Cape, King William's Town, Orange Kiver (B. M.) 

25. Lamprophis jiskii, Blgr. ; Boulenger, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1887. 
Touw's Eiver. 

26. Lamprophis rufidus, Licht. ; Smith, 111. pi. Iviii. ; Jan, 
Icon. 17, iv. 1. Ablabes rufulus, Giinth. Col. Sn.p. 30. " This snake 
has an extensive range, being found in damp localities throughout 
the entire of South Africa. It is generally discovered in marshy 



spots, and on the banks of rivers, and is occasionally observed 
actually in water trying to capture frogs, &c., which form its 
favourite food." — Smith. Cape, King William's Town, Natal 
(B. M.) 

17. Booclon, D. & B. 

27. Boodon lineatus, D. & B. Lycodon geometricus (non 
Schleg.), Smith, 111. pi. xxii. Bocedon lineattim, Dum. & Bibr. vii. 
p. 363 ; Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 199. Bocedon capense, Dum. & Bibr. 
vii. 15. 364. Bocedon quadrilineatum, Jan, Icon. 36, ii. 2 & 3. 
" Barely seen in S. Africa ; resorts to dry and arid situations." — 
SmitJi. Cape, King William's Town, Natal, Orange Biver, 
Damaraland (B. M.) 

Black variety : B. inferncdis, Giinth. I. c. p. 199. Port Natal, 
Port Elizabeth, Damaraland (B. M.) 

18. Heterolepis, Smith. 
8 upper labials, 4th, 5th, and 6th entering the eye. - - capensis. 
7 upper labials, 3rd and 4th entering the eye. - - - gueinzii. 

28. Heterolepis capensis, Smith, 111. pi. Iv. Eastern districts 
of the Cape Colony (Smith). Desideratum in the British 

29. Heterolepis gueinzii^ Peters, Mon. Berl. Ac. 1874, p. 163, 
pi. — , fig. 2. Port Natal. Likewise a B. M. desideratum. 

19. Leptodira, Fitz. 

7 upper labials, 3rd and 4th entering the eye ; a single anterior 

temporal. punctata. 

8 upper labials, 3rd, 4th, and 5tli entering the eye ; a single anterior 

temporal. ... .... rufescens. 

9 upper labials, 3rd, 4th, and 5th entering the eye; two superposed 

temporals behind the postoculars. - - - . semiannulata. 

30. Leptodira, piunctata, Ptrs. Grotaphopeltis jmnctata, Peters, 
Mon. Berl. Ac. 1866, p. 93. S. Africa, no precise locality. 

31. Leptodira rufescens, Gm. Crotaphopeltis rufescens, Smith, 
111., Ai^p. p. 18; Jan, Icon. 39, ii. 1. Heterurus rufescens, 
Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1170. Leptodeira rufescens, Giinth. Col. 
Sn. p. 165. " Inhabits most parts of S. Africa, but specimens 
are most easily obtained near Cape Town and on the south- 
eastern coast." — Smith. Cape, Port Elizabeth, Natal (B. M.) 


32. Leptodira semianmilata, Smith. Telescopm semiannu- 
latus, Smith, 111. pi. Ixxii. Loc. ? Not represented in the 
British Museum. 

20. Dasypeltis, Wagl. 

33. Dasypeltis scabra, L. ; Smith, 111., App. p. 20 ; Giinth. 
Col. Sn. p. 142. Rachiodon scaher, Dum. & Bibr. viii. p. 491 ; 
Jan, Icon. 39, ii. 4. "Inhabits the more southern parts of 
Africa, and consumes with avidity the eggs of birds." — Smith. 
Cape (B. M.) 

Variety, uniform brown above : D. palmarum, Leach; Giinth. 
I. c. D. inornatas, Smith, pi. Ixxiii. Port Natal (B. M.) 

V. Elapidje. 
21. Naia, Laur. 

34. Naia haie, L. ; Smith, 111. pis. xviii. — xxi. ; Dam. & Bibr. 
vii. p. 1298 ; Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 225 ; Jan, Icon. i. 2. Cobra de 
Capello. South African specimens are desiderata in the British 

22. Dendraspis, Schleg. 

35. Dendraspis angusticeps, Smith. Naia angusticeps, Smith, 
111. pi. Ixx. ; Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1301. Dendraspis angusticeps, 
Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 238. "This species occurs about Natal and 
in the country to the eastward, towards Delagoa Bay." — Smith. 
South African specimens are desiderata in the British Museum. 

23. Sepedon, Merr. 

36. Sepedon hcemachates, Merr. Naia hcemachates, Smith, 
111. pi. xxxiv. Sepedon hcemachates, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1259. 
Aspidelaps hcemachates, Jan, Icon. 44, vi. 4. " King Hals Slang " 
of the Cape colonists. " Specimens have been found in almost 
every district of South Africa which has yet been explored. It 
appears to prefer localities in which the soil is loose, sandy, and 
coated with brushwood."— /Shw^/i. Cape, Namaqualand (B. M.) 

24. Aspidelaps, Fitz. 
Frontal shield longer than broad ; 3rd and 4tli upper labials entering the 
eye. ----...-.. lubricus. 
Frontal not longer than broad ; 4th upper labial entering the eye. sciUatiis. 

37. Aspidelaps lubricus, Merr. ; Smith, 111., App. p. 21 ; Jan, 
Icon. 44, vi. 2. Elaps lubricus, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1218. 


Cyrtophis scutatus (non Smith), Giinth. Col. Sn. p. 227- " Naeht 
Slang-' of the Cape colonists. "Inhabits South Africa, more 
particularly towards Cape Town." — Smith. Cape, Kaffraria 
(B. M.) 

38. Aspiclelaps scutatus, Smith. Cyrtophis scutatus, Smith, 
111., App. p. 22. Aspiclelaps scutatus, Jan, Icon. 44, vi. 3. 
" Inhabits Kaf&rland and the country towards Port Natal." — 
Smith. Natal (B. M.) 

25. Elaps, Schn. 

A. 15 scales across the body. 

3rd upper labial much larger than first and second ; belly yellowish with a 
black median baud, or blackish with yellowish spots or transverse 
bars. ..--.-.... hygicB. 

The three anterior upper labials subequal ; blackish above, with a yellowish 
vertebral streak, uniform yellowish inferiorly. - - - dorsalis. 

B. 13 scales across the body. .... sundevallii. 

39. Elaps higice, Shaw; Smith, 111., App. p. 21 ; Dum. & Bibr. 
vii. p. 1213 ; Giinth. Col. Su. p. 232 ; Jan, Icon. 43, ii. 3. 
"Kouseband" of the Cape colonists. "Found in all parts of 
South Ainca."— Smith. Cape (B. M.) 

40. Elaps dorsalis, Smith, 111., App. p. 21. " Inhabits Kaffir- 
land, and the country towards Port Natal." — Smith. King 
WilHam's Town (B. M.) 

41. Elaps sundevallii. Smith, 111. pi. Ixvi. " Inhabits 
South Africa to the eastward of the Cape Colony." — Smith. 
Does not appear to have been rediscovered since the description 
was published by Smith from a specimen belonging to Sundevall, 
of Stockholm. 

26. Atractaspis, Smith. 

42. Atractaspis irregidaris, Eeinh. A. hihronii. Smith, 111. 
pi. Ixxi. ; Jan, Icon. 43, iii. 2. A. irregularis, Giinth. Col. Sn. 
p. 239; Jan, Icon. 43, iii. 1. "Inhabits the eastern districts of 
the Cape Colony." — Smith. Smith's original specimen is now 
in the British Museum. 

27. Causiis, Wagl. 
43. Causus rhombeatus, Licht. Sepedon rliomheatns, Smith, 
111., App. p. 21. Causus rhumbeatus, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1263. 


"Frequently found in the Cape Colony." — Smith. Port Natal, 
Port Elizabeth (B. M.) 


28. Vipera, Laur. 

A. Lower surface of tail with a well-developed double series of sub- 

caudal shields, as in the innocuous snakes. 

1. Nostrils directed upwards, their distance from the lip equalling 

the distance from the eye to the lip - - - arietans. 

2. Nostrils lateral. 

11 or 12 shields border the upper lip on each side, the fourth being 
considerably larger than the others ----- atropos. 

13 subequal labial shields on each side ; head tliick and globular, nearly 
twice the diameter of the neck ----- atropoides. 

13 or 14 subequal labial shields on each side ; head much longer than 
broad ; coloration uniform yellowish brown - - - inornata. 

B. Lower surface of tail with feebly differentiated, feebly-keeled scales. 
No horn-like tubercle above the eye - - - - . schneideri. 
A horn-like erect tubercle above the eye - - - - caudalis. 
Two or more erect horn-like tubercles above the eye - - - cornuta. 

4:4:. Vipera arietans, Merr. Echidna arietans, Smith, 111., 
App. p. 21 ; Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1425. Vipera arietans, Jan, 
Icon. 45, vi. 3 & 4. " Puff Adder " of the Cape colonists. " Has 
been observed in all the districts of S. Africa which have been 
visited by Europeans." — Smith. Cape, Natal (B. M.) 

45. Vipera atropos, L. Smith, 111. pi. Hi. ; Jan, Icon. 45, iv. 
1 & 2. Echidna atropos, Dum. & Bibr. vii. p. 1432. " Berg 
Adder " of the colonists. " Has been found in every district of 
S. Ah-iea."— Smith. Cape (B. M.) 

46. Vipera atropoides. Smith, 111. pi. liii. " The only 
specimen procured [which is now in the British Museum] was 
from the vicinity of a missionary institution about forty miles 
to the eastward of Cape Town." — Smith. 

47. Vipera inornata. Smith. Echidna inornata. Smith, 111. 
pi. iv. " This snake [now in the British Museum] was killed in the 
Sneeubergen, or Snow Mountains, which are situated immediately 
behind the village of Graaff Eeynet."— *S'h(/^/;. 

48. Vipera schneideri, Boettger, Ber. Scuckenb. Ges. 1886, 
p. 8, pi. i. fig. 1. Angra Pequeiia. 

49. Vipera caudalis. Smith, 111. pi. vii. Cerastes oceUatus, 


Smith, pi. iv. (text). Kestricted to dry sandy districts. Cape, 
Damaraland (B. M.) 

50. Vipera corniita, Daud. Smith, 111. pi. xxsii. Vipera 
lopliophrys, Smith, 111. pi. xsxiii. Cerastis lophophrys, Dum. & 
Bibr. vii. p. 1444. " Hornsman " of the Cape colonists. Cape 
(B. M.) 

By Thomas Southwell, F.Z.S. 

We must go back many years in the history of the Seal and 
"Whale Fishery before we shall find so disastrous a season in 
all respects as the past has been ; certainly it is unparalleled in 
the history of the Dundee fishery : a season of great severity 
has resulted in poor catches, still poorer prices for produce, and 
in the loss of one ship at Newfoundland and four in Davis 
Straits. It is not likely, with the present prospects, that any of 
these will be replaced, and it is even doubtful whether all the 
vessels which returned from last season's fishing will repeat the 
venture in 1887 ; in addition to which there are rumours of a 
partial desertion of the northern fishing-grounds for the purpose 
of exploring the Polar seas of the Southern Hemisphere. 

The first disaster occurred on March 27th, when the Dundee 
steamer ' Resolute ' was crushed in the ice in Notre Dame Bay, 
her crew having barely time to save themselves by jumping on the 
ice, where they suffered intensely from cold and exposure, having 
to travel seventy miles over ice before thej' reached a place 
of safety ; three of their number, at first believed to have been 
lost, were subsequently picked up by the sealer ' Hector,' and 
landed safely at St. John's. The * Resolute,' at the time of her 
loss, had 20,000 Seals on board. Another Dundee vessel, the 
' Aurora,' had a narrow escape. Four days after leaving St. 
John's she discovered the main pack of Seals, and had every 
prospect of securing a full cargo, but a gale of great violence 
coming on, which continued for several days, she was driven 
before its force a distance of about one hundred miles, ultimately 
to be stopped by an iceberg off Cape Bonavista, where she 
remained in a position of great danger from the falling ice. Soon 
after, a second iceberg floating down upon her crushed one of her 


boats, and injured the ship so much that she began to leak ; all 
this time the weather was of great severity, and the snow and 
mist blinding. Ultimately the ice eased, to the intense relief of 
her crew, and with the loss of one of her men the 'Aurora' 
returned to St. John's to refit. On her second trip she secured 
640 old Seals. 

The total result, so far as the twenty-one British vessels which 
took part in the Newfoundland fishery were concerned, was one 
lost, two clean ; and amongst the remaining eighteen vessels a take 
of 195,396 Seals (against Sll,587 for nineteen British vessels 
last year) ; of these the ' Ranger ' took 35,894, the ' Falcon ' 
24,768, the 'Wolf 19,521, the 'Leopard' 15,954, and the 
' Greenland ' 15,000. Of the remaining thirteen vessels, the 
total catch was 84,259, or an average of 6481 ; the average of the 
whole eighteen being 10,855 Seals, the produce of which was 
worth about ^18 10s. per ton. 

Taking the Dundee portion of the above fleet alone, which 
consisted of six vessels, one— the ' Resolute' — as before said, was 
lost, and the remaining five vessels brought home only 41,606 
Seals (as against 71,272 the i^revious season), or an average of 
8321 each. It will thus be seen that for the whole of the Dundee 
vessels, and ten of the St. John's fleet, the voyage, so far, must 
have been a most unprofitable one, even if the price of produce 
had been much higher than it now is ; practically only the five 
vessels enumerated as having taken 15,000 Seals and upwards 
made paying voyages. 

The Greenland sealing has this season been an entire failure, 
not so much, perhaps, from the absence of Seals as from 
the severity of the weather, and the state of the ice pre- 
venting an ai^proach to the breeding pack. The passage out was 
a fair one, and the Seals were found on April 2nd, in lat. 74° 
N., long. 2° E. ; but the weather proved so tempestuous that it 
was not until the 7th they could be reached, and the strong gales 
had then broken up the ice into small patches, and thus dispersed 
the Seals. Three Scotch vessels only were present, the ' Erik,' 
' Hope,' and ' Earl of Mar and Kellie ' (the ' Eclipse ' did not 
take part in the young sealing), and they captured about 4500 
'white-coats;' there were also twenty-one Norwegians, who 
secured some 31,500 others, in addition to which there were also 
about 4000 old Seals killed, making a total of, say, 40,000 old 


and young Seals. In consequence of the lateness of the season 
the young Seals were in very fine condition, and probably sixteen 
days old, as the parents generally take to the ice about March 
ySnd. The old sealing, later in the season, was equally bad. The 
total number of old and young Seals brought in from the Green- 
land and Davis Straits fishery was 7964, against 32,302 in the 
season of 1885. 

I regret that in my last year's notes by an error I stated that 
there were eighteen Scotch vessels present at the Greenland 
sealing : this was the total number both at Greenland and New- 
foundland. I should have stated that ten Scotch vessels took 
pai't in the Greenland and Davis Straits sealing, capturing 
26,448 Seals, and that the proceeds of 5852 other Seals 
were brought home by the ' Germania ' from a station in the 
Cumberland Gulf. 

At Newfoundland and Greenland together, the thirteen 
Scotch sealers last season killed 49,570 Seals (against 103,574 
in the season of 1885) ; these, at 6s. per skin, would represent a 
sum of ;£14,871, and the yield of 582 tons of oil, at £20 per ton, 
a further sum of ^11,640; gross total, s026,511, against an 
estimate in J 885 of ^57,412, a sad falling off, which in this 
branch of the fishery must represent a considerable loss to those 
engaged in it. 

In the article "Seal Fishery," in the 21st vol. of the 
' Encyclopaedia Britannica,' p. 582, are some remarks with regard 
to what is there termed the "Jan Mayen Seal Fishery," which 
are calculated to be very misleading. It is stated that the 
British, Norwegian, Swedes, Danes, and Germans, all take part 
in the fishery, and that the number of Seals taken by the 
British vessels " about equals that taken by all the others 
together." If by the " Jan Mayen fishery" the author means the 
capture of young Saddle Seals at the Greenland west ice, this is 
certainly not correct ; the foreign vessels at present greatly out- 
number the British, and the number of Seals taken by them is pro- 
portionately larger ; it will be seen that in the season of 1886 the 
numbers of British and foreign vessels present were respectively 
three of the former and twenty-one of the latter, and for 
many years past the disparity has been almost equally great. 
The Norwegians, who did not commence sealing till 1845, now 
outnumber all the other nationalities. Previous to that time 


there were more Germans, Danes, and Dutch, than there are 
Norwegians at present. The author is also incorrect in stating 
that the Scotch steamers are chiefly manned by Shetlanders. It 
is usual for the whalers to complete their crews at Lerwick, and 
last season the ' Eclipse ' added to her crew of forty men fifteen 
Shetlanders, bringing the number up to fifty-five, and this, I 
believe, is about the usual proportion. Again, although it is 
stated that a close time has been established in the " Jan Mayen 
fishery," the writer goes on to say that "the vessels make the ice 
from the 15th to the 20th March, and commence the chase in 
the destructive way ah'eady described." The way " already 
described" happily refers to what has since 1877 become a thing 
of the past; in that year the close time came into operation, 
and now, within an area included between the parallels of 67° and 
75° N. latitude, and between the meridians of 5° East and 
17° West longitude from the meridian of Greenwich, not a Seal 
is killed till April 3rd. That date is still believed by some to 
be too early, but this restriction has completely revolutionised 
the mode of sealing; the mother Seals are no longer killed 
without mercy when they come to suckle their young, and the 
latter left '* to die in thousands of starvation." As a matter of 
fact, it is the young " white-coats " which are now so much 
valued. The German vessels made a business of sealing many 
years before the English took any decided part in it, the latter 
only picking up a few Seals occasionally ; but about the com- 
mencement of the present century Seals begin to figure largely 
in the returns of the British ships. It was not, however, till 
the year 1840 that the port of Dundee first sent out sljips to 
the Greenland sealing, but this date by no means coincides 
with the commencement of the Jan Mayen Seal fishery as stated 
by the writer in the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica.' 

The Davis Straits whaling voyage was a very disastrous 
one. On April 5th, during a most terrific gale, the ' Triune ' 
was forced upon a reef in lat. G6 N., where she remained frozen 
up till the 18th, when she was released, but in steaming through 
the ice-floe she received a very severe nip, which ultimately 
resulted in the crew being compelled to abandon her oft' Scott's 
Island in 71 N. lat. on the 16th A-.igust. At the same time and 
place as the * Triune,' the 'Jan Mayen' was also caught in the 
squeeze, and sank shortly afterwards. The ' Star' was likewise 


lost in Cumberland Gulf, making, with the ' Resolute ' before 
mentioned, four Dundee vessels which fell victims to the "thick- 
ribbed ice" last season. Nor was this all, for the ' Catherine' of 
Peterhead, a sailing brig of 190 tons, after various adventures 
on reefs and rocks, was finally beached and abandoned on the 
30th September in Cumberland Gulf. Fortunately the crews in 
all cases were rescued. 

In the Davis Straits plenty of Whales are reported to have 
been seen both in the early and late fishing ; but the weather was 
so bad, combined with heavy seas and ice floes of a very 
dangerous character, that fishing was impossible ; and during the 
summer months, when the best fishing is usually met with, the 
young Whales which, as a rule, ai-e then found in Lancaster 
Sound, although the ships were through Melville Bay in good 
time to meet them in passing, were altogether absent, having, 
it is conjectured, taken some other passage. 

The Davis Straits and Cumberland Gulf vessels, ten in 
number, killed nineteen Whales. These are said to have yielded 
380 tons of oil, and 290 cwt. of bone, giving an average of 
20 tons of oil and 15 cwt. of bone each, a very high average for 
the Straits Whales, which is probably to some extent accounted 
for by the summer fishing of the young Whales being a failure, 
those taken being in consequence all adults. Of this I shall 
have something more to say presently.* 

The Seal fishery offering no temptation for an early start, 
and consequent greater outlay on the voyage, Capt. Gray, of the 
' Eclipse,' deferred his departure from Peterhead until April 20th, 
with the intention of devoting his energies to whaling and 
shooting old Seals; of the latter he obtained 700, and of the 
former 7. Of the incidents of this voyage some account has 
been contributed to these pages by Mr. Robert Gray ; there is no 
need, therefore, for me to dwell upon this part of the subject. 
In the Greenland Seas the 'Eclipse' and 'Erik' from Peterhead, 

■■• The disparity between the quantities of bone and oil as stated above is 
certainly too gi-eat ; there is always a remarkably constant proportion of 
one cwt. of bone to each ton of oil, and this holds good with Whales of 
all sizes. The ' Traveller ' brought home from Ciunberlaud Gulf some Whale 
oil which had been left out last season ; but in addition to this I think there 
must be some inaccuracy in the reported quantity of oil ; possibly some of 
the White Whale oil has been accidentally entered as Whale oil. 


and the 'Pole Star' from Dundee, captured 15 Whales, yielding 
88 tons of oil, and 80 cwt. of bone— the Whales averaging just 
over 5| tons of oil, and 5^ cwt. of bone. The 'Hope' and 
' Aurora,' as also the ' Earl of Mar and Kellie,' which paid a short 
visit to the Greenland whaling, were unsuccessful. Fourteen of 
the above Whales were taken early in the season, and in about 
the saine locality, the remarkable feature about them being their 
small size. 

The relative size of the Whales taken in Davis Straits and 
Cumberland Gulf, compared with those usually taken in Green- 
land, has in the past season been quite reversed. A large 
number of Davis Straits and Cumberland Gulf Whales, taken 
over a period of years, produced an average of 9|- cwt. of bone 
each ; whereas the Greenland Whales, captured during the same 
period, yielded 11 cwt. each; but in the past season the averages 
have been 15 and 5^ cwt. respectively.* 

This may at first sight appear very remarkable, but it is quite 
intelligible to those acquainted with the habits and seasonal 
distribution of these creatures. We have seen that the Straits 
fishermen, owing to circumstances of weather and ice, missed the 
young Whales, which would have reduced their average ; whereas 
the Greenland fishermen likewise, from force of circumstances, 
could only get amongst young Whales early in the season; and 
later on, owing in a great measure to the ice being so closely 
packed and its edge so far west, they missed the south fishing 
altogether. But this is not all : from long experience of the 
habits and migration of the Whales, the regularity of which 
is remarkable, the Whalers know precisely where they should be 
found, under favourable circumstances, at certain definite periods ; 
and not only so, but also the age .and size which may be expected. 
I am not at liberty to enter more fully into this subject, fearing 
to commit a breach of confidence, as it is the application of 
accumulated experience on such points which enables one man 
to succeed in capturing Whales when a less accurate observer 
would fail ; but I may add — to show that the migratory habits of 

* As before stated, the yield of bone is more reliable than that of the 
oil for purposes of comparison ; I therefore prefer to give that of the bone 
only, but each cwt. of the latter may be taken as representing an equivalent 
of one ton of the former. 


the Whales have not changed — that the celebrated capture of 
forty-four Whales, by Capt. Suttar, of the ' Resolution,' in 1814, 
was effected in the same latitude as produced the Greenland 
Whales of the past season. Capt. Suttar's average was 5 tons 
13 cwts. ; and fourteen of the Greenland Whales last season, 
taken by two vessels fishing together in the same latitude as 
Suttar's, gave precisely the same average. 

It is difficult to say what is the value of commodities which 
are hardly marketable; but at ^20 per ton the 477 tons of oil 
brought home by the Dundee and Peterhead vessels would be 
worth ;£9540, and the 18^ tons of bone, at say £1100 per ton all 
round,* another ;£90,350, or a total of ^£29,890, against ^31,800 
in the season of 1885. 

There has been a further considerable falling off in the 
British Bottle-nose fishery, only 23 Whales, yielding 22 tons of 
oil, having been brought in against 84 killed in 1885: but 
I am informed that the Norwegians have in the past season 
killed the enormous number of IGOO or 1700 of these creatures, 
which has so flooded the markets of London and Glasgow with 
their oil that it has been sold as low as .£17 or ^18 per ton, — a 
circumstance which will account for the neglect of this branch of 
the fishery by the Scotch vessels, the owners of which not many 
years ago realised ^50 or ;£60 per ton for the same oil. 

Some of the vessels brought home very miscellaneous 
cargoes — 1033 White Whales, 320 Walruses, and many Narwhals 
and Bears — scarcity of " big game," I presume, rendering the 
pursuit of such small deer the more keen. 

During his voyage to the Greenland fishery, when in lat. 
70° N. 16° W., or about half-way between Jan Mayen and 
Greenland, Capt. Fairweather, of the ' Aurora,' reports a 
singular phenomenon. On August 16th, about mid-day, his 
vessel received a sudden shock, caused by what he considers 
must have been an earth- (or sea-) quake. The " sensations," he 
says, " felt by those on board were as if the ship were moving 

* Some "size-bone" {i.e., bone the slips of which are six feet and 
uxDwards in length) has recently been sold at ^1550 per ton ; but as the 
" undersize " bone produces only half the price of the " size," the price for the 
average is largely reduced. This must have been particularly the case in the 
past season, many of the Whales being very small, and the proportion of 
undersize bone being consequently unusually large. 


over a rocky bottom with great velocity." The officers and crew 
immediately rushed on deck, thinking a boiler had burst, or that 
the ship had gone aground, but the boilers were all right, and the 
lead failed to find bottom at 100 fathoms. The weather was 
foggy, with slight rain and wind from E.S.E. ; no upheaval of 
the water was noticed, the sea being unusually calm. About two 
hours later, a second but much lighter shock was experienced, 
which, however, only caused the vessel to tremble. 



Change of Habits in the Brown Rat.— The way in which animals 
change their habits and mode of life in adapting themselves to new or 
altered conditions of existence is very remarkable. In some cases doubtless 
the change is so gradual that it is not detected for a long time, but in others 
a divergence of habit under exceptional circumstances is so marked that it 
at once strikes the observer as noteworthy. Some years ago the Rev. J. S. 
Whitmee, then resident in the Samoan Islands, noticed a remarkable change 
of habits in that curious bird the so-called "Little Dodo," Didunculus strigi- 
rostris, which, from being almost entirely terrestrial in its habits, and 
breeding also on the ground, became gradually arboreal, roosting and nesting 
iu trees, to escape the destruction which threatened it from attacks by cats, 
dogs, rats, and pigs, which had been introduced by the colonists [cf. Proc. Zool. 
Soc. 1875, p. 495). The Rat itself, so active a destroyer of life, has likewise 
had to alter its habits continually in its struggle for existence under adverse 
conditions in New Zealand. Capt. Johnstone, of Te Haroto, Raglan, New 
Zealand, referring to Mus decumanus, in a letter to Capt. Hutton, subse 
quently communicated to the Auckland Institute (Proc. N. Z. Inst. 1870, 
p. 47), writes as follows: — "At this season of the year [June] there is a 
sort of annual migration of Rats, where there are uncultivated lands in the 
neighbourhood of houses. This year the migration is ■ excessive, both 
iu the country and in the village of Raglan. The habits of the Rat 
have greatly changed since its introduction. It is amphibious. At low 
water they go to eat shell-fish on a rock near here, and when the tide rises 
swim back to the land. They have almost extirpated the delicious little 
crayfish (Paranephrops), which twen'y years ago were, as I well remember, 
plentiful in my creek. Even the fresh-water mussels (Unio) are not safe 
from them, as they dive for them and open them on the bank. The climate 
is wet and the ground hard, so instead of burrows they make nests iu trees 


and hedges. Some time ago Mr. J. Graham, of Raglan, showed me a 
perfect ' rattery ' in a tliorn-hedge in the village. There were from fifteen 
to twenty large nests, into which it was necessary to insert a pitchfork to 
eject the occupants, in order to show that they were not birds' nests." 
The habit of feeding iipon Crustacea is confirmed by another observer in 
New Zealand, who writes: — "Wild Ducks were particularly numerous in 
this district (Lake Taupo, North Island) on my arrival here : you saw them 
by dozens — you hardly see them now by twos. I have no doubt we owe this 
to the Norway Rat. There is a place on the Waikato River, some twenty 
miles below Taupo, where the chiefs occasionally assembled to act out two 
important matters — to discuss politics and eat kouras (crayfish). A few 
years after the Norway Rat fully appeared, the kouras were no longer 
plentiful, and as the New Testament made Maori politics rather unnecessary, 
the usage of meeting no longer exists. The natives assured me that the 
Norway Rat caught the crayfish by diving. Rowing up the rivers you see 
the little deposits of shells. Upon enquiry I found they were the selections 
of the Norway Rat, who, by diving for these fresh-water 2>iTpiSi provide a 
Idnaki (relish) for their vegetable suppers." I have elsewhere commented 
upon the observed fact that Rats will greedily devour snails, and in this 
way may do some good in gardens where snails are numerous (' Rambles in 
search of Shells,' 1875, pp. 73, 74). In the case referred to, however, they 
were apparently impelled to this change of diet from necessity rather than 
from choice, tlie Rats in question belonging to a colony which had taken up 
their quarters in some new houses while in course of erection, where there 
were no larders to visit. They were observed to climb the hollyhocks in 
the garden, clear off several snails, bring them down in one paw, like an 
armful, and run with them on three legs to their holes. — J. E. Habtinq. 

Marten Cat in Breconshire. — This animal is so rare in Wales at the 
present time that it may be worth while noting that one was seen in a 
large wood near this town in September last. Attention was drawn to it 
by the noise made by five or six Jays, who were evidently mobbing some- 
thing, and my informant, who got within twenty yards of it, described it 
so minutely to me as to leave no doubt in my mind as to its identity. In 
past years the Marten was common here, and I know of four stuffed 
specimens killed in this county within the last thirty years, and doubtless 
many others have been unrecorded. I have also the very much torn skin 
of a Marten killed some twenty years by the late Mr. Gwynne Vaughan's 
hounds near Llanwrtyd, in this county. The old rough Welsh hound 
hunts it with great keenness and determination, and in former years it was 
its legitimate quarry. — E. Cambbidge Phillips (Brecon, S. Wales). 

Common Rorqual at Skegness. — Seeing the usual announcement of a 
" Greenland Whale " having been stranded at Skegness on April 3rd, I 


wrote to Mr. Storr of that town, who was mainly instrumental in its 
capture, and from his replies, thinking it possible the animal might be 
BalcBHoptera horealis, I took an early opportunity of visiting Skegness, and 
was somewhat disappointed at seeing on the beach a young female of the 
Common Rorqual or " Razorback," Balmioptera musculus. The animal 
measured 47 ft. in length, and the only remarkable feature about it was 
the unusually light colour of the baleen, which showed much less of the 
characteristic slate colour veined with darker and lighter shades of the same 
than in any specimen of this species which I have seen. This may have 
been owing either to the juvenility of the animal, which was little more 
than two-thirds grown, or it may have been sexual, or even the result of 
individual variation. There seems to have been the usual misunder- 
standing with the authorities, who claimed the whale on behalf of the 
Crown, but it was eventually handed over to its captors, who, after 
exhibiting it during the Easter holidays, sold it by auction for thirty 
guineas. — T. Southwell (Norwich). 

[We learn from another correspondent, Mr. Degen, who personally 
examined it, that, being half buried in soft sand and ooze, it was impossible 
to take all the measurements that were desirable. He could only ascertain 
that the extreme length was 47 ft., the length from centre of dorsal fin to 
end of tail 13 ft., width of tail 8 ft., and circumference at dorsal fin 11 ft. 
8 in. He arrived at the same conclusion as did Mr. Southwell, namely, 
that it was an immature female of Balanoptera musculus. — Ed.] 

The West India Seal.— It will probably be of interest to the zoological 

portion of your readers to learn of the re-discovery — or the full discovery 

of the West Indian Seal, Monachus tropicalis. The history of this pinniped 
is in brief as follows : — It was noticed by Columbus in his account of his 
second voyage (1494) as having been found in some numbers on the rocky 
isle of Alta Vela, off the southern shore of Hispauiola, where his sailors 
killed eight of them for food. Later— in 1675— Dampier found this Seal 
in abundance on the Alacram reefs, about eighty miles north of Yucatan. 
At that time it was killed there in great numbers for its oil. The Seal then 
remained unnoticed for over a century and a half, having no place whatever 
in the writings of zoologists until 1843. Then Mr. Richard Hill published 
an account of it in the 'Jamaica Almanac,' calling it the Pedro Seal, from 
the Pedro Keys, sonae sixty miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, where he had 
found it. A few years later Mr. P. H. Gosse obtained an imperfect skin 
(without skull), which he sent to the British Museum, where it was described 
by Dr. Gray in the ' Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London,' 
1849. Dr. Gray gave it then no name, probably by reason of its imperfect 
characters. Later— in 1850— (' Catalogue of Mammals in the British 
Museum ') he described the same specimen as Phoca tropicalis, and after- 
wards (' Catalogue of Seals and Whales,' 1866) as Monachus tropicalis. But 


SO imperfect was the specimen on which the description was founded, and 
the animal itself was so little known, that even its generic relations were in 
doubt, and its reference to the genus Monachus was considered provisional. 
From thence on to the present, rumours of the existence of this Seal have 
been not infrequent, but nothing seemed trustworthy and positive, and no 
specimens were obtained, if we except a young skin, without bones or skull, 
which came from Cuba to the National Museum at Washington, in 1884, 
without any indication as to locality. It has long seemed to the writer, as 
doubtless to many others, that the certain presence in our [i. e. American] 
waters of so important a mammal lying jJerdu in regions which our naturalist 
collectors are yearly visiting, was the opprobrium of American zoologists. 
We made inquiries and collected notes from many sources, which showed 
clearly that this Seal existed at isolated points — on small islands and keys — 
not only in the Caribbean and among the Bahamas, but also in the Gulf of 
Mexico. Last summer, while on a visit to the western shore of the Gulf 
of Mexico, we were so fortunate as to "locate" this seal with much 
certainty. This was upon the Triangles (Los Triangulos), three little 
keys, hardly above the water-level at high tide, and lying some 100 miles 
north-west off the CamjDeachy coast, in latitude N. 20° 50', and longitude 
W. 92° 10'. Following this clue, my son, Mr. Henry L. Ward, last 
December visited the Triangles in company with Senor F. Ferrari Perez, 
naturalist of the Mexican Geographical and Exploring Expedition. His 
hunt was highly successful, and he has during the present month returned 
with nearly twenty specimens — skeletons and skins of all ages, from a 
suckling to the fully adult male, seven feet in length. This ample material 
has just been carefully studied by Prof. J. A. Allen, the well-known zoologist, 
and author of a ' Monograph of North American Pinnipeds.' Prof. Allen 
has given a preliminary notice of the specimens in ' Science,' January 14, 
1887, and promises an elaborate account, with plates, in an early issue of 
the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, New York. It 
is a fact of rather peculiar interest that this, the first large mammal ever 
discovered in x\merica, should, by the strange mishaps of natural-history 
collecting, be the very last one to become known satisfactorily to science. — 
Henry A. Ward (Rochester, New York). — In ' Nature.' 

[A second communication on the subject, from Mr. Allen, appeared in 
'Science,' Jan. 21, 1887. Mr. Ward is mistaken in supposing that the 
skin of the Seal, which came from Cuba to the National Museum at 
Washington in October, 1883 (not 1884, as above stated), was without 
bones or skull. It contained the skull and the bones of the fore and hind 
flippers, and these have been described (with three figures of the skull) 
by Messrs. Trew and Lucas in the Smithsonian Report for 1884, pt. ii. 
pp. 331-3^5.— Ed.] 


B I K D S . 

Reported occurrence of Emberiza melariocephala in Scotland. — 
When visiting the Crystal Palace Bird Show on February 15tli, I was 
surprised to find that, in Class 66, the first prize had been won l)y 
No. 1317, a male Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melamcephala , in 
winter dress. On enquiry its owner, Mr. T. Crossley, of Kendal, wrote to 
me at some length regarding the bird, which " was caught near Dumt'erm- 
line, on or about the 5th of November last, while flying in company with 
some Snow Buntings." Mr. Crossley subsequently informed me that he 
purchased the bird from a dealer while on a visit to Scotland on the 8rd of 
January. Mr. Crossley amusingly maintains that his specimen is au 
immature Ortolan. He has no doubt as to its capture as above stated. — 
H. A. Macpherso.n. 

[See a note on the occurrence of this species in Nottinghamshire (Zool. 
1886, p. 73), and its previous occurrence near Brighton (Ibis, 1869, p. 1"28). 
Since described and figured in the 4tli edition of Yarrell's ' British Birds,' 
vol. ii. p. 64. — Ed.). 

Albino Birds in Co. Wicklow. — Mr. J. R. Fitzgerald's note on albino 
birds (p. 110) reminds me of some curious albinos which have occurred 
about here. Two, a Jackdaw and a Blackbird, are in the possession of 
Mr. D. M'Kellar. The Jackdaw is of an uniform creamy white, except 
the top of the head, which is grey. It is a young bird of the first year, 
and was shot near Carnew, in December, 1883. It came from a nest in 
one of the houses of that village, and had the white plumage from a 
nestling, having been frequently seen before it was shot. The albino type 
is, I think, not so common among Jackdaws as among many other species. 
The Blackbird is a very curious and beautiful specimen, white, lightly 
tinged with shades of buff and pale brown. It was shot near Shillelagh in 
February, 1886. In November last, on Slievebuidhe Hill, a Magpie was 
seen which was all white, except a black collar round the neck, extending 
into a large patch on the shoulders, and some black spots on the wings. It 
was in company with two other Magpies of the ordinary type. Some years 
ago a white-winged Wren frequented the roadside near Park ; and a cream- 
coloured Sparrow was seen in the village of Shillelagh. ^Allan Ellison 
(Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow). 

Wood Pigeons casting up Pellets. — When hawking in Cambridge- 
shire, on December 15th, I went from the open land through a wood 
frequented (at that season) by hundreds of Wood Pigeons. Among their 
droppings I saw some oval-shaped "castings," about an inch in length. 
I have noted this in the Shrikes, Rooks, iuid Swallows, but never in this 
form in the Pigeon. I am aware of the manner they feed their young, but 

ZOOLOGIST. — MAY, 1887. Q 


1 must say 1 was ignorant of the fact of Pigeons ejecting castings such as 
1 found composed of husks of bailey and beech-nuts, grass, or clover, and 
small stones. — T. J. Mann (The Grange, Bishop's Stortford). 

Blackbird laying in Thrush's Nest. — Whilst rambling over the 
Sewage Farm, during April last, I observed a Blackbird fly from a holly- 
bush, and, thinking it might have a nest, I went to see, and to my great 
surprise found that the Blackbird had laid four eggs in a Thrush's nest, 
which I suppose the Thrush must have deserted. On my telling Mr. 
Thomas, who owns the adjoining land, of the occurrence, he said that a 
similar case was observed by one of his sons near the same place during 
the previous year. Mr. Wm. Storey tells me that an instance of the above 
has come under his notice in Nidderdale. — F. R,. Fitzgerald (Harrogate). 

The Ptarmigan in South-West Scotland.— The remarks of Mr. 
Service regarding local specimens of Laijopus iinitus in the Museum at 
Dumfries remind me that one or more specimens exist in the Carlisle 
Museum. 1 therefore wrote to Mr. W. Duckworth, suggesting that the 
Carlisle birds were probably from Dumfriesshire, and asking him to refer 
to the old Museum Catalogue, with a view, if possible, to trace their history. 
This he has kindly done, and finds that three specimens of L. mutus (two in 
summer and one in winter dress) were included in a series of birds presented 
many years ago by Mr. J. D. Murray, of Murray tliwaite, Dumfriessh re. 
In all probability these were local birds : at least the presumption is favoured 
by the facts which Mr. Service has recently set forth in connection with his 
own district. — H. A. Macpherson. 

Woodcock and Pheasant laying in the same Nest. — 'Hi the 12th 
April last I was taken to see a Woodcock's nest, about two miles from my 
house. Tiiere had been four ejjgs, but one was broken to pieces, and 
another had a hole in i*. In the same nest with these were two Pheasant's 
eggs. The Woodcock's eggs had been laid some time, but were only 
slightly incubated. I suppose the Pheasant had turned the Woodcock out, 
but the keeper stated that two days afterwaids he saw the Woodcock silting 
on tlie two Pheasant's eggs. From this it would seem that the Pheasant 
had deserted and the Woodcock had gone back to the nest. On April 
16th the two eggs were found to iiave been sucked by a Jay. — F. H. Birley 
(Doi man's Land, East Grinsteadj. 

House Martins nesting in October.— A pair of Martins, Chelidon 
urbica, built their nest at the Harrogate Hotel, Starbeck, and successfully 
reared their young, in the latter end of October, 1884. The old birds were 
observed feeding their young during a blinding snow-storm. Last year 
Mr. William Storey, of Pateley, observed on October 8lh a nest of the 
House Martin containing four young. The last Swallows observed in 


this district (so far as I am aware) was on October 25th, when Mr. Rowling 
saw one in High Harrogate, and I observed three in Low Harrogate. — 
F. R. Fitzgerald (Harrogate). 

The Green-backed Porphyrio (Porphyrio chloronotus).— I should be 
much obliged if any correspondent, who may happen to know its where- 
abouts, will say where a Porphyrio, shot at Grange in Furness, Lancashire, 
on September 25th, 1876, now is. It was recorded in ' The Zoologist ' by 
Mr. Harting (1877, p. 228), and by Mr. E. T. Baldwin, p. 381. Robert 
Allen, the keeper who shot it, died in America last May, and it is possible 
that he took the bird to America with him, but it is much more likely, I 
think, that he sold it to some collector before crossing the Atlantic. About 
ten days before this bird was killed a Green-backed Porphyrio, showing no 
trace of confinement, and now in Mr. J. G. Millais's collection, was shot 
at Eriol, in Perthshire (Drummond Hay, 'Scottish Naturalist,' 1877, 
p. 37j; while about fifteen days afterwards a third was killed in Norfolk 
(Zool. 1877, pp. 96, 228). These facts point to wild migrants, and not to 
prisoners escaped from any aviary, especially as it was just the migratory 
season, and the three localities are so far apart, assuming that the 
Lancashire bird was the green-backed species, which is what I wish to 
ascertain. Unfortunately that cannot now be proved, unless the specimen 
can be examined. Two of the witnesses who saw it think its back was 
green, and two others think it was blue. The Green-backed Porphyrio 
apparently has a good claim to be considered a visitant to the South of 
Europe. Mr. Dresser says, on the authority of Baron vou Miiller, that 
six were caught at once in the South of France (' Birds of Europe,' vol. vii. 
p. 303); and I learn from Prof. Giglioli that in the autumn of 1865 four 
were taken at Messina, and that, including these, there are twelve well- 
authenticated instances of its capture in Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia. Of 
some of these he has given particulars f' The Ibis,' 1881, p. 211), but does 
not suggest that they may have escaped from confinement. — J. H. Gurney, 
JuN. (Keswick Hall, Norwich). 

White-eyed Pochard and Bewick's Swan in Norfolk. — An adult male 
White-eyed Pochard [Anas nyrocci) was shot at Potter Heigham on Dec. 
29th ult. ; it was flying singly down the river. Three Bewick Swans were 
shot here (at Heigham) last winter. — M. C. H. Bird (West Rudham, 
Swaffham, Norfolk). 

The Sheldrake or " Bar-goose " on the Essex Coast. — This bird is 
still called "Bur-goose" by Essex shore-slioolers and puut-gunueis. It 
appears to be a late breeder. One killed off Canvey Island a few years 
ago on May 9th had no down off the breast, although the feathers there 
were dirty, as if she had been burrowing, and the most fully-developed egg 
in the ovary was not so large as a pea. I have not heard the term " Bar- 


gander " applied to the male, but both sexes are indiscriminately spoken of 
in Essex as " Bar-geese." — M. C. H. Bird (West Rudham, Swaffham, 

Harlequin Duck on the Northumbrian Coast.— The editorial note 
(p. 159) under a notice of the exhibition of a Harlequin Duck before the 
Zoological Society by Mr. H. Saunders has a tendency to mislead, as any 
one referring to that notice would naturally conclude that the bird exhibited 
was the Rev. Julian Tuck's specimen, which was not the case. It was the 
companion bird which 1 had received, and which is now in my collection. 
To obviate any confusion which might arise at a future date in tracing the 
destination of the two specimens which were obtained, I should feel obliged 
if you will allow me to state that I possess the specimen which was 
exhibited by Mr. H. Saunders. — Robert W. Chase (Edgbaston). 

It may be well to point out that the young Harlequin drake exhibited 
by Mr. Saunders at the second March meeting of the Zoological Society 
(Zool. p. 159) was not my specimen recorded on p. 70, but its companion 
in misfortune. The two must, I suppose, be " bracketed second " as 
British examples. I forwarded the body of the one I received to Professor 
Newton, and at his request tlie trachea has been prepared for the Cambridge 
Museum. — Juuan Tuck (St. Mary's, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent). 

Paired Varieties of the Jackdaw. — A pair of Jackdaws are at present 
nesting in one of the old trees close to my house. I see them frequently 
on the lawn and in the field near. Both these birds are exactly alikt^, and 
have the whole of the wings and tail of a dull mottled yellowish brown 
colour, much like that of a hen Pheasant. The remarkable point in this is 
that both the pair should thus vary. Probably they are the produce of 
some one brood of a former season? — 0. P. Cambridge (Bloxworth, near 

Black Redstart in Co. Waterford. —I have to record the occurrence 
here of a young male of this species on the 4tli November, 1886. The 
specimens of this bird captured in Ireland have, I believe, occurred on the 
sea coast, or at a short distance inland. Coolfin is about ten miles from 
the nearest sea. Like the bird mentioned by Lord Clermont (Zool. 1884, 
p. 78), this little straggler was engaged in capturing flies at my bed-room 
window.— William W^ Flkmtng (Coolfin House, Portlaw, Co. Waterford). 


Cyclopterus lumpus at Scilly. — I have received (April l-2th) from 
St. Mary's, Scilly, a Lunipsucker, Cijdopterus lumpus. It is a male of 
unusual size, being as largo as the ordinary female. The belly and lower 
sides are bright crimson, the back is of llit- usual (kill leaden blue; but 


the remarkable thing about the fish is its sucker. Instead of being attacheii 
to the pectorals it was distinctly detached, and (although the fish was quite 
fresh when it was brought to me) the sucker was hard and apparently 
useless for the purpose of adherence. The fish being in good condition, 
the state of the sucker could not be attributed to disease. It may possibly 
have been the result of age, but I have seen the male of this species so 
rarely that on this point I am not able to offer an opinion. Since writing the 
above, another very large male Lumpsucker has been taken (April 14th); 
this time in Penzance Bay in a trammel, in about twelve fathoms of water. 
It measures sixteen inches in length, and has the same peculiarity about 
the sucker which I noted in the other. It was alive when I received it.— 
Thomas Cornish (Penzance). 

Scarcity of the Black-veined White.— In an article in the ' Ento- 
mologist's Monthly Magazine' for March, Mr. Herbert Goss raises the 
question whether Aporia cratcEC/i is dying out in this country. At one time 
this butterfly was common in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Huntingdonshire, 
Northamptonshire, Herefordshire, ]\lonmouthshire, and Glamorganshire. 
Now it has disappeared, apparently, from all these counties. Mr. Goss does 
not think that this can be attributed to the rapacity of collectors, and he 
holds that it can be accounted for only in some localities by cultivation and 
drainage. It seems to him more probable that the extreme acarcity or total 
extinction of the Black-veined White may be due to a succession of wet 
ungenial summers and mild winters. 


Zoological Society of London. 

April 5, 1887.-Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, in 
the chair. 

The Secretary read a leport on tlie additions that had been made to 
the Society's Menagerie during the month of March, 1887, and called 
-special attention to two Long-tailed Grass-Finches, Foephila acuticamla, 
from N.W. Australia, presented by Mr. Walter Burton ; nnd to a Fisk's 
Snake, Boodou jisldi, and a Narrow-headed Toad, Biifo anr/iisticeps, from 
South Africa, presented by the Rev. G. H. R. Fisk. 

Mr. F. Day exhibited and made remarks on a specimen of a Mediter- 
ranean fish, ScorpcEim scrofa, taken by a trawler off Brixliam early in 
March last, and new to the British Fauna. 

Mr. J. H. Leech exhibited some specimens of new Butterflies from 


Japan and Corea. and gave a short account of his recent journeys to those 
countries in quest of Lepidoptera. 

The Secretary read a letter addressed to him by the Rev. G. H. R. Fisk, 
of the Cape Colony, respecting the killing and eating, by a Shrew, of a young 
venomous Snake, Sepedon hminachates. 

Prof. Flower communicated, on behalf of Messrs. J. H. Scott and T. 
Jeffery Parker, of the University of Otago, New Zealand, a paper containing 
notes on a specimen of a young female Ziphius, which was cast ashore alive 
at Warrington, north of Dunedin, New Zealand, in November, 1884. 

Mr. Richard S. Wray read a paper ou the morphology of tlie wings of 
birds, in which a description was given of a typical wing, and the main 
moditications which are found in other forms of wings were pointed out. 
One of the principal points adverted to was the absence, in nearly half the 
class of birds, of the fifth cubital remex, its coverts only being developed. 
The peculiar structure of the wings in the Ratiti/' and the Sphenisci was 
also commented upon. 

A communication was read from the Rev. H. S. Gorham on the classifi- 
cation of the Coleoptera of the division Languriides. The author pointed 
out the characters which, in his opinion, were available for the systematic 
arrangement of this family of Coleoptera, and for its division into genera. 
The subject had hitherto not received the attention it deserved, and several 
errors had gained currency, owing to the hasty and insufficient way in 
which the structure of these insects had been examined. He added an 
analytical table of about forty genera, many of tiiose proposed being new. 
Further notice of the American genera would soon appear in Messrs. 
Godman and Salvin's ' Biologia Centrali-Americana.' 

April 19, 1887. — Osbert Salvin, Esq., F.R.S., Vice-President, in 
the chair. 

The Secretary called attention to a set of eleven photographs repre- 
senting the principal objects of Natural History collected by the celebrated 
traveller Prejevalski during his four expeditions into Central Asia, and to 
an accompanying Catalogue of them which had been presented to the 
Society's Library by Dr. A. Strauch, of the Imperial Museum, St. Peters- 

Mr. T. D. A. Cockerell exhibited and made remarks on some specimens 
of rare British Slugs taken at I.-leworth, Middlesex. 

The Secretary read some extracts from a letter addressed to him by 
Mr. A. A. C. Souef, giving an account of a successful attempt to keep the 
Duck-billed Platypus, or Water-Mole, alive in captivity in the Zoological 
Gardens at Melbourne. 

Mr. J. Bland Sutton exliibited some bpeciiuens of diseased struclures 
taken from Mammals that had died in the Society's Gardens, and made 


comments thereou. He also read a paper ou the singular arm-glands met 
with in various species of the family Lemuridie. 

Mr. F. E. Meddard read a paper on the anatomy of Earthworms, being 
a further contribution to his researches on that subject. The present paper 
treated of the structure of Emlrilus sylvicola, the reproductive organs of 
Acanthodr'dus, and the genital setae of Pevichmtu hoidleti. 

A communication was read from Mr. A. D. Bartlett, Superintendent of 
the Society's Gardens, containing remarks upon the mode of moulting 
of the Great Bird of Paradise, Paradisea apoda, as observed in a captive 

A communication was read from Mr. J. Douglas Ogilby, of the Austra- 
lian Museum, Sydney, containing the description of a rare Australian fish, 
Olrella cyanea. A second paper by Mr. Ogilby contained the description 
of an undescribed fish of the genus Prionurus, obtained in Port Jackson, 
which was proposed to be called P. maculatus.—P. L. Sci.ater, Secretary. 

Entomological Society of London. 

Apnl 6, 1887.— Dr. David Sharp, M.B., F.Z.S., President, in the 

Mr. Francis Galton, M.A., F.E.S., of 42, Rutland Gate, S.W. ; 
Mr. John Henry Leech, B.A., F.L.S., of 10, Hyde Park Terrace, W. ; 
and Mr. George S. Parkinson, of Percy Cross, Fulham, S.W., were elected 

Mr. Samuel Stevens exhibited specimens of Arctia mendica, collected in 
the county of Cork, in Ireland, by Mr. M'Dowall, of Manchester. The 
peculiarity of the Cork form of the species is that the majority of the males 
are as white as the female of tlie Englisli form ; and although smoky- 
coloured specimens occur intermediate between the Irish and English 
forms, the typical black or English form appears to be unknown in Cork. 

Mr. M'Lachlan exhibited a zinc box used by anglers for the purpose of 
keeping living flies in, which he thought might be adapted to practical 
entomological use in the field. 

Mr. George T. Porritt exhibited a large number of specimens of 
Hyhernia progemmaria, bred from moths collected at Huddersfield last 
spring. All the females and a large proportion of the males were of the 
dark variety /i«scrt/rt, which formerly was almost unknown in Yorlishire, 
but which now seemed likely to replace the paler and original type. 

Mr. Jenner Weir and Lord Walsingham both remarked that the 
number of melanic forms appeared to be on the increase in the north, and 
suggested explanations of the probable causes of such increase. 

Mr. Gervase F. Mathew, R.N., exhibited several new species of Rhopa- 
locera taken by him in the Solomon Islands during the visits to those 


islands of H.M.S. 'Espiegle' in 1889 and 1883. Amongst the specimens 
exhibited were species of Eiiplcea, Mycalesis, Messarus,Iiliinopaljia, Cyrestis, 
Diadema, Parthenos, Lamjndes, Sithon, Pieris, Papilio, &c. 

Mr. E. B. Poulton exhibited a large and hairy lepidopterous larva — 
apparently of a Bombyx — brought from Celebes by Dr. Hicksou, and made 
remarks on the urticating properties of the hairs of the species, which were 
said by the natives to produce symptoms similar to those of erysipelas if 
the larva was handled. 

Lord Walsingham, Mr. M'Lachlan, Dr. F. A. Dixey, Mr. Jenner Weir, 
Dr. Sharp, Rlr. Slater, and Mr. Poulton took part in a discussion as to 
whether urtication was due to the mechanical action of the hairs in the 
skin, or to the presence of formic acid, or some other irritant poison, in 
glands at the base of the hairs. There appeared to be no doubt that in 
some species the irritation caused by handling them was merely due to the 
mechanical action of the hairs. 

Mr. P. Crowley exhibited a collection of Lepidoptera recently received 
from West Africa, including specimens of several new or undescribed 
species of Mylothris, Diadema, Harma, BJwnialeosonia, &c. 

Mr. H. Goss reported the capture by Mr. G. D. Tait, at Oporto, in 
September last, of a specimen of Anosia Plexippus, and remarked that, 
although son e twenty specimens had been caught in the South of England, 
only two specimens had been previously recorded from the continent of 

Lord Walsingham read a paper entitled " A Revision of the Genera 
Acrolophus (Poey) and Anaphora (Clem.)"; and lie exhibited about twenty 
new species of these and allied genera. Mr. Staiiiton made some remarks 
on the genus Anaphora, and said he was glad Lord Walsingham was working 
at it and its allies. The paper was further discussed by Mr. M'Lachlan, 
Mr. Champion, and Dr. Sharp. 

Mr. Poulton read " Notes in 1886 on Lepidopterous Larvse, &c." In 
the discussion which ensued, Lord Walsingham referred at some length to 
instances of protective resemblance in larvfe, and alluded to the existence 
in certain species, especially of the genus Melitaa, of prothoracic glands. 
Further instances of protective resemblance were cited by Mr. Jenner 

Dr. F. A. Dixey remarked on the extraordinary powers of contraction 
which appeared to be possessed by the retractor muscle of the flagellum in 
D. vinula, and enquired whether any corresponding peculiarities of minute 
structure had been observed in it. The discussion was continued by 
Mr. Gervase Mathew, Mr. W. White, Dr. Sharp, Mr. Ponitt, and others. — 
H. Goss, Hon. Secretary. 

Zool June 1887. 

Plate 4. 


k fi 


* .': 








Vol. XL] JUNE, 1887. [No. ]26. 


By G. T. Rope. 

Plate IV. 

Of the large and widely-spread genus Mus, five species only 
are known to inhabit the British Islands ; the two larger, 
M. decumanus and M. rattus, being commonly known as Rats ; 
the rest, M. musculus, M. sylvaticiis, and M. messorius, as Mice. 
A third species of Rat, M. alexandrinus, is sometimes brought to 
our shores by vessels from Egypt and various ports in Southern 
Europe, but has not at present succeeded in permanently esta- 
blishing itself. It appears doubtful, however, whether this last 
is really specifically distinct from M. rattus. 

Of the latter group, or " mice," the Long-tailed Field Mouse, 
Ahis sylvaticus, is the largest, and is very numerous as a species. 
Though a singularly beautiful little creature, it has a bad reputa- 
tion both with the farmer and the gardener. No sooner does 
the sowing season come round and the first early peas are 
put into the ground, than the Field Mice find them out, and, 
taking up their abode close bj', carry on their depredations 
during the hours of darkness. From observations made on this 
species in captivity, I believe it to be more strictly nocturnal ini 
its habits than either the common House Mouse or the Harvest 
Mouse, M. messorius ; and the much larger and more prominent 
eyes seem to indicate the same thing. 

The Long-tailed Field Mouse has some little resemblance to 
the Common Mouse, the chief i^oints of difference being some- 



what analogous to those distinguishing the Hare from the 
Eabbit ; thus both the ears and the hinder limbs are longer, and 
the general colour of the fur of a warmer tint. The relative 
difference in size is also about the same, or perhaps rather less : 
besides which the ej^es are much larger and more prominent, the 
whole head, and especially the muzzle, more elongated, and the 
tail longer. The dimensions given in Bell's ' British Quadrupeds' 
are as follows : — Length of the head and body, 3 in. 8 lines ; of 
the head, 1 in. 1 line ; of the ears, 7 lines ; of the tail, 3 in. 6 lines. 
For the sake of comparison, the following measurements, 
taken from ten adults from this locality, may perhaps be worth 
recording : — Average length of the head and body, 3 in. 9|- lines ; 
of the tail, 3 in. 5 lines. By far the largest example was a female, 
the total length of which was S in. 2 lines, the head and body 
occupying 4 in. 6 lines, the tail 3 in. 8 lines. In one instance 
the tail measured exactly half of the entire length, but its pro- 
portionate length, as seen above, was in these examples less than 
in Bell's table of dimensions. In this respect, indeed, I have 
found great variation, but need hardly add that in making the 
above measurements abnormally short-tailed specimens — which 
might possibly have lost a portion of that appendage — were, of 
course, excluded. 

The upper parts are fawn, interspersed with numerous darker 
hairs, the general effect being yellowish brown with a slight 
greyish tinge. Under parts white, with a small patch or streak 
of fawn between the fore legs. Darkest colour extending along 
the back from occiput to root of tail, the fawn tint purest where 
it borders on the white. Posterior margin of hams bright orange- 
fawn. Feet and fore legs white up to the wrist, the pink skin 
showing through the soft and somewhat scanty hair on the feet. 
Hinder feet and legs white up to the hocks, which are dark grey 
behind, fading into pale fawn next to the white, the white in 
front being carried up so as to join that of the rest of the under 
parts of the body. Inner surface and anterior margin of thighs 
white, the rest of the same colour as the back. All the fur slate- 
colour at the base. Ears very large, beautifully formed, and 
sparsely clothed with very short brown hairs. Eyes of great 
size and remarkably prominent. Whiskers abundant and very 
long. The hinder feet are large in proportion to the fore feet, 
the three middle toes long, the claws white. The tail is long and 


flexible, brownish grey above, whitish below ; rather less than 
half the entire length of the animal, but varying considerably in 
this respect. The colour of the upper parts varies in different 
individuals, some showing but little of the yellow tint. The young 
are much greyer than the adults. Fatio (' Faune des Vertebres 
de la Suisse') states that he has remarked considerable variation 
in the shape and extent of the yellow pectoral spot in Swiss 
examples, some having it so produced as to form a complete 
collar, while in others he has found it entirely absent. 

Albinos now and then occur in this country, an instance of 
which will be found recorded in ' The Field,' Jan. 18th, 1873, by 
Mr. H. De F. Cox ; and in ' The Zoologist,' June, 1884, p. 226, 
Mr. A. H. Cocks, describing an albino variety picked up dead in 
the garden of Dropmore Vicarage, near Great Marlow, Bucks, 
says, " It was a true albino, the eyes being pink ; there was the 
slightest possible tinge of colour on part of the back and flanks. 
It was a female ; and its unusual colour had — from the look of 
the teats — proved no obstacle to its finding a mate, and becoming 
the mother of a famil3\" According to Lord Clermont (' Quad- 
rupeds and Keptiles of Europe'), varieties occur of white, brown, 
and dull yellow, the belly, however, being always white. 

The large and well-developed ears appear capable of detecting 
the slightest sound, and twitch convulsively at a chirp or 
whistle so faint as to be barely audible to human ears. The 
sense of smell, too, is probably well developed, and is doubtless 
the principal guide to the whereabouts of food — accounting 
for the great readiness with which corn, seed, bulbs, &c., are 
discovered, whether in the ground or stored in outhouses. 

This species, according to my experience of its habits in this 
neighbourhood, does not, like M. viusculus and M. messorius, 
inhabit stacks of corn, nor have I ever succeeded in finding a 
single individual of the Field Vole, Arvicola agrestis, either in a 
granary or a stack of any kind, though the latter animal is said by 
Bell to frequent such situations. A few may be carried in now and 
then at harvest time among the sheaves of corn, but must either 
soon die or else make their escape; for, setting aside rats, the little 
rodents found often in such immense numbers when the corn is 
threshed are all (with the exception of a small but varying pro- 
portion of Harvest Mice) of one species, viz., Mus musculus. 
Doubtless the habits of this little animal would vary a good deal 


according to circumstances, and I ought to add that these 
observations have been confined to a rather limited area. 

The Long-tailed Field Mouse devours corn and pulse of all 
kinds ; also acorns, nuts, bulbs and roots of various sorts ; and 
from Mr. Barrington's interesting account of the habits of this 
animal in confinement (Zool., April, 1882) it appears that the 
leaves as well as the roots of certain plants are eaten by it. He 
says, " The leaves of clover, and especially dandelion, were 
greatly relished, and for an unexpanded flower of dandelion 
nearly everything else would be deserted." They also ate 
arbutus berries, gooseberries, apples, grapes, &c., but almonds 
were not much liked. One I kept would eat the berries of the 
butcher's-broom. In a wild state they are particularly fond of 
carrots. Though abroad and active throughout the year, these 
mice, as is well known, store up underground during the autumn 
vast quantities of food for winter use, when the hard frozen ground 
would otherwise prevent them from obtaining a sufficient supply. 
For this purpose acorns are often chosen. Prof. Bell mentions 
also nuts, corn, and various seeds, and even roots, as having been 
found in their winter hoards. Possibly these supplies are some- 
times exhausted before the return of spring ; for, like rabbits, 
they will in severe weather, when the ground is covered with 
snow, devour the bark of young trees. The last-mentioned 
writer, in his account of the destruction wrought by mice and 
voles among young trees in the Forest of Dean and in the 
New Forest during the years 1813 and 1814, states that among 
the enormous number of small rodents taken in pitfalls, &c., 
though the greater part consisted of Field Voles, Arvicola 
agrestis, a considerable number of Long-tailed Field Mice were 
also caught. The present species, like most of the smaller 
British rodents, is to a certain extent carnivorous, preying when 
hard pressed on young birds, &c., and even occasionally on 
members of its own species. Fatio mentions insects as forming 
a part of its diet. 

This animal breeds several times during the year, beginning 
as early as March, and continuing till late in the autumn. 
Mr. Barrington's experiments prove that a pair of these mice 
are capable, in a state of confinement, of producing as many 
as four litters in the space of ten weeks. He found the average 
number of young in nine litters to be four, five being the 


maximum ; in a wild state, however, the litters are probably 
larger. From seven to ten is the number stated by Bell, while 
Fatio gives it as four to six. It seems probable that more 
than one pair sometimes jointly occupy a burrow, several mice 
being at times bolted at once when water is poured into a 
hole. Buffon gives an instance where twenty-two were found in 
a single hole, viz. two females and twenty young. Mr. Barrington 
estimates the period of gestation to be about three weeks. 

Their burrows, which are their usual retreats during the day , 
and in which the young are born, are to be found in woods, 
orchards, gardens, hedge-biinks, &c. ; they are also often made in 
the open fields, especially where peas or beans have been recently 
sown, also at harvest time, remaining till the stubbles are 
ploughed. From the quantity of earth thrown out at one or 
more of the openings (of which there are seldom less than three) 
they are often conspicuous objects, looking at a little distance 
like mole-hills. Old manure-heaps, probably from the warmth 
generated in them, are favourite spots with these little animals ; 
and they not unfrequently make their abode in sheds and out- 
houses attached to gardens, where bulbs, seeds, &c., are kept. 

The singular tenacity with which the young mice cling to 
their dam when she is surprised and put to flight was, as far as 
I am aware, first observed — or at any rate recorded — by the 
Eev. Gilbert White, the instance on which his attention was 
drawn to this circumstance occurring during the removal of the 
lining of a hot-bed. He says, " From out of the side of this bed 
leaped an animal with great agility, that made a most grotesque 
figure ; nor was it without great difficulty that it could be taken, 
when it proved to be a large white-bellied Field Mouse, with 
three or four young clinging to her teats by their mouths and 
feet. It was amazing that the desultory and rapid motions of 
this dam should not oblige her litter to quit their hold, especially 
when it appeared that they were so young as to be both naked 
and blind !" Fatio witnessed a similar occurrence : a female was 
ploughed out of the ground with young ones clinging to her, but 
not, as in the instance given by White, to the teats, but "accroches 
par les pieds anterieurs et par les dents a sa queue et a ses poils." 
As regards the manner of attachment, Mr. Barrington's observa- 
tions are in accordance with those of the author of the ' Natural 
History of Selborne'; for, after remarking that the mothers 


seemed to have hardlj' any cessation of suckling, he says, " So 
fast did the young attach themselves that the females could 
scarcely move without pulling two or three after them." Although 
the present species does not estahlish itself permanently in the 
dwellings of man, after the manner of that pretty and amusing 
little pilferer the common House Mouse, I have known several 
instances of its having been caught in houses ; and it often visits 
dairies for the sake of the milk, of which it is particularly fond. 
One which had escaped from its cage here was caught a fortnight 
afterwards in the same room, looking as sleek and well as ever. 

I have on two separate occasions, in July and November, seen 
this little animal among the tall marram-grass on the sea-beach 
between Dunwich and Sizewell, on the Suffolk coast. Nests of 
the Harvest Mouse, M. messorius, have also been found on the 
beach at Kessingland, a few miles farther to the north, as recorded 
in Mr. Southwell's ' Mammalia and Reptilia of Norfolk.' The 
never-failing supplies of food cast up or left bai'e by the waves, 
as is well known, attract to the sea-coast various creatures other 
than those of purely littoral habits. Possibly, however, these 
beach-mice, instead of deriving the principal part of their food 
directl}' from that source, may subsist chiefly on the seeds of this 
grass and of the various plants growing on that wild and un- 
cultivated tract. The beach being cut off at this spot from 
cultivated soil by a wide belt of marshes, ill adapted to the 
requirements of these animals, it seems probable that they 
may be permanent residents there. Rats, Rabbits, and a few 
Hares frequent the place ; and even Weasels and Stoats in small 
numbers here find a temporary refuge from their relentless enemies 
the keepers. 

Long-tailed Field Mice and Bank Voles, Arvicola rufescens, 
often make use of the same runs, and in trying to procure 
specimens of the latter I have frequently been balked by the 
Field Mice, which spring the traps and imprison themselves with 
the greatest readiness. They are particularly abundant here, 
and on going out at night with a lantern are sometimes to be 
seen bounding along in their peculiar zigzag and erratic manner. 
Their leaping mode of progression occasioned by the comparative 
length and power of the hinder limbs, and in fact the appearance 
in general of these mice, reminds one of the Kangaroos, or perhaps 
even more so of their near relatives the Gerboas. When moving 


slowly about in a cage their movements are very kangaroo - 
like. In burrowing, the snout is used for shovelling the earth 
away in front of them. In captivity they have — as far as my 
exjDerience goes — rather a dull and listless manner, and, in spite 
of their beauty, make less interesting pets than the common 
House Moi;se. The skin of the tail, as with the Dormouse, is 
but slightly attached, and if seized by that appendage the mouse 
generally escapes, leaving the skin between the finger and thumb 
of its would-be captor. 


By Alfred Heneage Cocks, AT. A., F.Z.S. 

The Finwhaling season of 1886 off the N. coast of Norway 
and Russia proved a good one as far as the number and size 
of the Whales obtained goes, but, owing to the continued low prices 
of oil and baleen, it is not every company that is satisfied with the 
result ; and I think everyone concerned is ready to acknowledge 
that the}' are treading seriously on one another's heels. 

Rudolphi's Rorqual, which in 1885, for the first time on record, 
appeared in such large numbers to the eastwards of the North 
Cape, last year confined itself again to its usual habitat, only 
eight individuals being taken by ships of the companies having 
their stations to the east of that headland, and it is quite likely 
that some, and possibly all, even of this small number were 
actually killed to the westward of it. None were even seen by 
the Russian boats. 

The Blue Whale reappeared last year in more like its former 
numbers, but, as will be seen by anyone who will take the trouble 
to compare the numbers caught by each company last season 
with those killed in 1884 (published in 'The Zoologist' for 1885), 
there was an appreciable falling- off in this species as regards 
the Norwegian coast, though apparently this was not the case in 
the eastward portion of the Russian waters. 

A similar comparison for the last three years (1884, 1885, 
1886) of the numbers of Common Rorquals killed will show a 
steady increase each succeeding j'ear, the totals for each company 
in 1886 averaging more than double the number obtained in 1884. 


The total of Humpbacks killed in 1886 was as nearly as 
possible the same as in 1885, and if, as in the preceding species, 
we reckon the totals for the three years, only of those companies 
of which I had returns in 1884, we find the figures so nearly alike 
that, without complete returns, it would be impossible to show 
any diiference. 

On my outward passage over the North Sea, when about 
152 miles from the Spurn, on the afternoon of August 6th, or, 
roughly speaking, in about 55° 33' N. lat., and 1° 52' long. E. G., 
we passed tolerably close to some Rudolphi's Rorquals. There 
were, I am nearly certain, three of them, though it is possible 
that there were, as conjectured by some of the other spectators, 
only two. They kept blowing for some minutes, as we crossed 
their track, and occasionally putting their heads out of the water. 
The position indicated would be about the latitude of Bamborough, 
on the Northumberland coast, and inside the forty fathom line, 
clear of the N.W. margin of the Dogger Bank. I saw them well 
enough to feel confident in my identification, though it was not a 
species one would expect to meet with thereabouts, and to see 
any species of Whale there is an exceptional incident. The 
Whales were heading about W.N.W., and as that course (or 
within several points of it) would bring them before very long to 
the Scotch coast, I lost no time, after landing in Throndhjem, in 
writing to apprise Mr. Southwell of the likelihood of a visit being 
paid to the British coast by this rather rare species, and begging 
him to keep a look-out in the newspapers in case any arrival 
should be chronicled. Mr. Southwell was good enough to take a 
great deal of trouble in the matter, and in a few days heard of a 
Whale ashore, which is worth putting on record here, although it 
was probably not one of the individuals he was on the look-out 
for. On August 14th, three fishermen off the Island of Bernera, 
on the west coast of Lewis, heard a tremendous noise proceeding 
from a small creek called Sandy Cove. On getting nearer, they 
found a Whale fixed across the entrance. One of them, named 
Angus M'Arthur, landed and aimed a blow at its head with an 
oar. The Whale lunged to one side, and brought down upon 
itself a piece of rock estimated at over a ton in weight. The 
fishermen then attacked it, and with much difficultj^ after a 
prolonged resistance during which it brought down several more 
pieces of rock in its struggles, they succeeded in killing it. 


The men tied a rope to its tail, but it broke it and nearly 
wrecked the boat. Its length is said to have been about fift_y- 
four feet, and, from tlie onl}^ description Mr. Southwell suc- 
ceeded in obtaining in answer to his enquiries, it was evidently 
either a Common or Kudolphi's Rorqual, as it had "longitudinal 
folds of a whitish colour on the lower part" of the body; if it 
had been a Humpback, the remarkable flippers would almost 
certainly have been mentioned. It had been seen for about 
fourteen days previously in Locli Roag " pursuing small herrings," 
accompanied by a smaller one. It was purchased by Mr. J. N. 
Anderson, of Stornoway, who had it towed there. 

When " IndenskJEers," that is, inside the barrier of the 
skerries, in the neighbourhood of Bergen, on August 8tli, we saw 
a Lesser Rorqual ; and a good many Dolphins, probably D. tursio. 
As I proceeded north, numerous Dolphins (? D. tursio) between 
Rorvig and Fjeldvig, and a single one in Porsanger Fjord, were 
the only cetaceans seen. Vest Fjord was passed earlier than I 
expected, — during the small hours of the morning, — and though 
exceptionally calm, no Whales were seen by the watch. In 
Oxfjord (West Finmarken), on August 15th, I saw the krang of a 
young male Bottlenose {Hyperoodon rostratns), which, I was told, 
measured from 2 to 2^ fathoms, and had been picked up in Soro 
Sund about three weeks previously, then recently dead, and with 
no mark externally to account for death. 

When returning from visiting the whaling establishments, 
Capt. Horn kindly gave me a passage on the ' Murmanetz,' when 
she and the 'Welda' started homeward bound from Yeretiki on 
September 10th; and I proceeded in her all the way down to 
Throndhjem, where she and her consort were laid up for the 
winter. In spite of very heavy weather, we saw several Whales 
on the passage. On the 14th, in a heavy sea off Bryniln, between 
the islands Loppen and Logo, we passed a small Whale. On the 
morning of the 15th, near the head of Vest Fjord, about three- 
quarters of an hour's run south of Lodingen, blowing hard 
W.N.W., passed a Humpback to starboard of us; and about ten 
minutes later, on the opposite side of us, we passed a school of 
from ten to twenty " Svaerd Fisk " (Sword-fish). They were, I 
suppose. Killers {Orca gladiator), although, so far as mj' observa- 
tions went, their appearance did not correspond well with that 
species; but as such a mass of widely divergent descriptions 


have been given of what is after all, so far as we yet kaow, 
onl_y one species, I think it best not to aid to tha existing 
confusion by publishing a fresh description which I ana not able 
to substantiate. 

Ten minutes later we saw another Humpback to starboard. 
Less than half an hour later, a Blue Whale was blowing very 
strongly on our starboard side ; and half an hour later, again, 
what were probably three " Sildehvale " (the "Herring-whale" 
variety of the Common Rorqual) to port of us ; and then another 
Whale was sighted just beyond these by one of the men, which, 
presently coming rather close to us, proved to be a Common Ror- 
qual. A little farther on, again, far away to poi't, another Whale, 
which blew frequently, but too far off to identify, was supposed 
to be either a " Sildehval" or a Humpback ; and in the evening, 
about an hour's run (nine knots) south of Bodd, we passed a 
small Whale. Capt. Horn coming through Vest Fjord on his 
way south, on Oct. 1st, passed four " Sildehvale " within a short 
distance of Lodingen. 

The last Whale I met with was only about fifty miles from the 
Yorkshire coast, as we were running towards the Humber on the 
morning of October 10th. On the fishing gi'ound known to 
trawlers as the " Great Silver Pits " (30 to 40 fathoms) we passed 
close to a Dutch fisherman from Schlevingen, in the act of hauling 
in his net. About fifty Gannets were in attendance overhead, 
while below a small Whale — perhaps a Lesser Rorqual — was 
steadily breakfasting on the fish that managed to escape from the 
meshes of the net. 

With regard to the time when the different species of Finwhale 
appear on the North European coast, I have the following observa- 
tions of some of the whalers this last season to offer (the actual 
date of the killing of the first and last example of each species 
being stated farther on under the respective species). Probably 
the first Whale killed last year was a Humpback, yielding six and 
a half tons of oil (about thirty-nine barrels), killed by Capt. 
Selliken as he entered Syltefjord on February 24th. Humpbacks 
are said to arrive on the E. Finmarken coast every February, but 
the weather was so bad this year as to hinder the fishing ; but it 
is probable that their numbers are recruited towards the end of 
the fishing season. Capt. H. Ellevsen came " Indenskjfei's" all 
the way up the coast in the spring, that is, inside the outer belt 


of islands, and therefore saw nothing ; it was too rough while he 
was crossing Vestfjovd to see anything. Herr Wiborg saw a few 
Common Rorquals on March 24th between Nordkyn and Vardo, 
and had seen none previously on his passage. Capt. Berg saw 
none on his passage north. Capt. H. Ellevsen saw several 
Common Rorquals on March 23rd between Tanafjord and Sylte- 
fjord ; and between May 25th and June 26th Whales were 
numerous between Tanafjord and North Cape. Capt. Berg says, 
" From May 27th to June 20th there were, off and on, great 
quantities of Whales between North Cape and Tanahorn, 
especially about the Nordkyn ; these Wliales were Common 
Rorquals or Whales resembling the so-called hybrids (Bastarder). 
^Ve had first in July a large show of Whales N.E. of Syltefjord ; 
these were typical Common Rorquals ; at the same time there 
were also sundry Blue Whales off Syltefjord, though no remark- 
able number. In April there was a stray Common Rorqual, off 
and on, between Tanahorn and Vardo, but the weather was then 
stormy, so that it hindered the fishing." Capt. Sorensen rejJorts, 
" During the month of June there were often a quantity of Com- 
mon Rorquals collected about Nordkyn and North Cape." Herr 
Wiborg says, "A quantity of Common Rorquals were seen in the 
middle of June between North Cape and Nordkyn. About the 
middle of July there were not a few Blue Whales about eight (sea) 
miles (= thirty-two English land miles) N.E. of Vardo, on their 
passage eastwards. A few days later there were a quantity of 
Blue Whales congregated off the Seven Islands (Sem Ostrova), 
on the Murman coast." Capt. S. A. Nilsen, of the 'Murmanetz,' 
told me that, with the exception of 1885, when the extraordinary 
arrival of Rudolphi's Whales took place, he had seen more 
Whales this season than in any previous year. 

Mr. Robert Cray's very interesting notes on last year's voyage 
of the ' Eclipse,' in the present volume of ' The Zoologist,' help 
to show the distribution of the Blue Whale during the spring and 
early summer, and he corroborates the opinion I expressed in 
these pages in 1884, that the statement in Nordenskiold's 'Arctic 
Voyages,' that the " Finners " never live in colder water than 
2'5° C, is an error. Capt. Castberg, jun. (commanding a Nor- 
wegian Greenland whaler) also reported seeing, in 1886, 
Blue Whales among Bottlenoses off Grimsey (an island off the 
N. coast of Iceland), in 67° N. lat., and between the 17th and 


18th degree long. W. G. ; and that oflf Langenses (the N.E. 
headland of Iceland), on May 28th, he saw quantities of this 

The following particulars, kindly supplied to me by the 
managers whose names are affixed, will, I believe, be considered 
well worth recording. With one or two exceptions, tlie original 
statements were given me in Norwegian ; these I have endeavoured 
to translate as accurately as possible. The lengths, except where 
otherwise stated, are in Norwegian feet and inches (the Norwegian 
foot = almost exactly 1 ft. 0^ in. English, and therefore the 
Norwegian inch = about l^^ in. English). But as most of the 
measurements are given in feet, omitting inches, it would have 
been absurd for me to have reduced them to English feet, plus 
the odd inches. 

Humpback. — Capt. Horn obtained : Males (June 19), 43, 41, 
43, 53, 38, 42 (Aug. 2) ; females, (July 1) 45, with male foetus 
13 in. long, flipper 3 in., width of flukes 3 in., gape 3|- in. 
(much milk) ; 48 (July 38). Average: (6) males, 4 1| Eng. ft.; 
(2) females, 46 J Eng. ft. In 1885 he obtained : (Aug. 14) 31 and 
36 (Aug. 15) 38. Average: 35 Norw. ft. 

Capt. Andreeff obtained: Males (July 9), SSg-, 32; females 
(Aug. 31), 35. Average: (3) males, 35^; (1) female, 35. 

HerrWiborg obtained: 1 male (Aug. 3). 3 females (Aug. 6-16). 

Capt. Castberg obtained: Males (June 19), 30, 30, 30, 28, 20, 
30. No females. Average : (6) males, 26J Norw. ft. 

Capt. Berentsen obtained : Males (Aug. 3), 30 and 30 ; fe- 
males (June 9), 30 ; (July 14) 46. Average : (2) males, 30 ; (2) 
females, 38 Norw. ft. 

Capt. Sorensen killed 4 and found 1 dead between August 
3nd and 6th. Length, about 40 Norw. ft. 

Capt. H. EUevsen's 5 were obtained between July 28th and 
August 17th. Four were males, and only one a female. 

Capt. Berg obtained 4 males, and no females. (July 23) 47, 
40, 44, 38 (Aug. 7). In 1885 he killed 2 as late as Aug. 19. In 
1884 he killed no Whale of any kind in August, although his ship 
cruised until the end of that month. In 1883 he obtained 1 on 
Aug. 30. In 1882 his last Whale was a Blue Whale, killed Aug. 31. 

Capt. Selliken took 6 ; the first was as he came to Syltefjord 
at the commencement of the season ; it gave 62- tons oil (= about 
39 barrels). One of his ships harpooned a small individual in the 


head (apparently penetrating to the brain). It towed the ship 
straight towards land, and the crew were in imminent danger of 
being shipwrecked on the rocks. Presently it reared its head 
right out of the water, and nearly toppled over on deck. Despite 
all their efforts the crew could not succeed in killing it, and at 
last they lashed it head and tail alongside and proposed to tow it 
ashore, still alive ; but it broke the lashings, and was only finally 
secured after a great amount of trouble. A fcetus found on July 
.28th measured ITg- Norw. in.; flipper, 4f. 

Herr Andresen obtained : Males, 35, 42, 39, between July 
7 and 29, and no females. Average : (3) males, 38|- Norw. ft. 

On August 25th I saw the ' Varanger ' with one alongside, 
not much more than 20 ft ; it was black-bellied. The great 
apparent excess of males over females of this species has struck 
me since I first visited the Whale-factories ; this season, out of 
37 of which the sex is recorded, 28, or over two -thirds, were males. 
This is evidently not to be accounted for by supposing that male 
animals are selected where there is a choice, on account of greater 
size, for the exact contrarj^ is the case. The average for all the 
males whose length is given above is under 35^ Eng. ft., while 
that of the females is just over 40^ Eng. ft.* 

Herr Wiborg informs me of a Humpback seen this season, 
accompanied by two calves, each about 10 Norw. ft. long. " This 
Whale was very shy, so that, so far as I am aware, it was not 
captured. Several whalers state that they have seen what was 
probably the same Whale. It was seen off Vardo, about six (sea) 
miles (== 24 English land miles) from land." 

Blue Whale. — Capt. Horn obtained some extremely large 
Whales. Males: May 25, 80 Eng. ft.; June, 80 Eng. ft.; July, 
76, 81, 68, 84, 77, 81, 72, 78, 75, 80, 63, 76, 83; Aug., 80, 72, 85. 
Females: June, 80, 81 (containing foetus 5 ft. 7 in. long); 
July, 87 (accompanied by young one between 50 and 60 ft. 
long), 80 (containing foetus 15 ft. 6 in. long), 71; Aug., two 
of 77 ft. Total (18) males, average, 78^8 Eng. ft. ; (7) females, 
average, 79 Eng. ft. The Blue Whales taken by Capt. Horn 
in 1885 were: June (1st), 68 Norw. ft.; (6th) female, 72; 
July, 67, 77; female, 81; Aug., 83, 71; female, 82 (with milk 
running) ; male, 75 ; female, 81 (Aug. 9). Average length 
(irrespective of sex) of 10 = 75-rV Norw. ft. 

* Eeckoning 1 ft. 0| in. English, to the Norwegian foot. 


Capt. Andreeff, at Arra Guba, obtained : Males, 63 (middle 
of June), 64, 73, 67, 51, 60, 72 ; females, 70^ 75, 52, 
77, 70, 67, 79. Average: (7) males, 66 Eng. ft.; (7) females, 
70 A Eng. ft. 

HeiT Wiborg, of Kiberg, obtained, on June 21, a female con- 
taining foetus 9 ft. In July, 5 males, and 2 females, one of which 
(killed 10th) was accompanied by a calf about 40 ft. long; and on 
Aug. 20, a female, with foetus 8 ft. The length of these Whales 
was from 65 to 80 Norw. ft., and most of them were extremely 
fat. Herr Wiborg writes as follows (translated) : — " Manager 
Amlie of this place (Christiania), who carries on Whale-fishing at 
Iceland, told me a few days ago that he had this year shot a poor 
Blue Whale, which had a shell lodged in the back part of the 
head, near the blow-holes, of the kind we use in Finmarken. 
Herr Amlie supposes that the AVhale was shot or wounded by the 
Finmarken whalers, which is also the opinion of Herr Amlie's 
harpooner. The wound was thought to be a year old." Herr 
Wiborg also noted that about the middle of July, about eight sea 
miles N.E. of Vardd, there were a good many Blue Whales 
travelling eastwards ; and some days later there were a quantity 
of this species congregated outside the Seven Islands (Sem 
Ostrova), on the Murman coast. Capt. Berg noted the appear- 
ance of some Blue Whales off Syltefjord during the early part of 
July, " though no remarkable number." 

Capt. Castberg obtained, on June 2, a female 78 Norw. ft., 
containing foetus 3j Norw. ft. ; July 1, female 78 ft, 6 in. Norw. ; 
and on the 23rd a male 72 ft. Average: (1) male, 72 ft.; (2) 
females, 78 ft. 3 in. Norw. 

Capt. Berentsen obtained, on June 8, a male 76 Norw. ft. ; 
30th, female 76 ft. ; in July, 1 male, 2 females, each 74 ft. , in 
August, a female 75 ft. ; this last was in lean condition, and only 
yielded about 40 barrels of oil. Average : (2) males, 75 ft. ; (4) 
females, 74| Norw. ft. 

Ciipt. Sorensen obtained 7 between June 30 and July 15, and 
they measured between 70 and 75 Norw. ft. 

Capt. H. Ellevsen obtained 10 between June 8 (77 Norw. ft. 
lone) and Aug. 7, when one was found floating dead. 

Capt. Berg obtained : Males (June 30), 61; (July), 74, 70; 
females (June 28), 68 ; (July), 68, 67, 68, 74. Average : (3) males, 
68^ ; (5) females, 69 Norw. ft. 


Capt. Selliken's largest Whale (of 4) was a male, 82 Norvv. ft. 

Herr Andvesen obtained, between June 10 and July 17: 
Males, 74; females (June 10), 72, containing foetus 50 Norw. in., 
68, 84. Average: (1) male, 74 Norw. ft.; (3) females, 74| 
Norw. ft. 

The sex of a Blue Whale (and in a less marked degree it is, 
I believe, true of other species of Baltenoptera, and possibly of 
other whalebone Whales) may be distinguished by the shape of 
the baleen plates, which in a male are long (up to 4 ft., including 
gum) and narrow, but thick; while in a female they are short and 
broad, but thinner. 

While at Mebavn (where we had to take shelter in heavy 
weather on our way south in the whaler ' Murmanetz '), I found 
quantities of the copepod, Balcsnopliilus unisetits, on baleen of the 
Blue Whale. Capt, S. A. Nilsen, of the ' Murmanetz," told me 
that on August 5th he saw two males of this species making 
overtures to a female. He harpooned one of the males, on which 
the other supposed male sprung clean out of the water head first, 
and nearly fell on board the ship ! 

Common Rorqual. — That this species is extremely variable is 
only too well known, for it has led to the multiplication of spe- 
cies and great confusion ; but, according to the reports of the 
Finwhalers, who have had during the last few years opportunities 
never before accessible of examining in a fresh state large num- 
bers of these animals, it seems as if these differences might 
perhaps be classified under three constant varieties — although it 
must be allowed that these varieties are not as yet as clearly 
defined as could be wished ; however, I here quote the descriptions 
as given me. Capt. Sorensen says, " On the western and southern 
coasts of Norway a sort of Whale is met with during the herring- 
fishing, often in great numbers, which is called Herring Whale 
(Sildehval). This Whale is most like the Capelan Whale 
(Loddehval), but smaller than it, rarely longer than 50 to 55 ft. 
It is black on the back, white on the belly, and the baleen like the 
Common Finwhale's (i. e., the Capelan Whale). Its dorsal fin is 
somewhat higher and more pointed than the Finwhale's, and it 
3'ields less oil than that kind." He adds that the " Sildehval " is 
the southern kind, and the "Loddehval" is the common Finwhale 
of the north. 

Capt. H. EUevsen says, " The common Fin- or Capelan-Whale 


disappeared at the end of April ; it is white under the belly. The 
Finwhale which then came has more or less dark gre}' colour 
among the white, especially on one side ; its snout is generally 
more pointed, and the Whale is more slender and longer"; and 
adds that the Finwhales that eat Lodde (Capelan) are only in 
Finmarken waters in the spring, and that those that eat Kril 
{Calanus finmarchicus) come later. 

Capt. Castberg described the " Herring Whale " as much 
resembling the Blue Whale ; the head like a Blue Whale's ; the 
line of the back much bowed posterior to the dorsal fin ; the 
furrows on the belly are after the pattern of a Common Finwhale, 
except that they are narrower (the furrows in the Blue Whale are 
shallower and narrower, and more numerous than in the Common 
Rorqual) ; the flukes more like those of the Blue Whale than the 
Common Fin. 

Capt. Horn has only seen one Whale answering the description 
given by Capt. Castberg of the "Sildehval"; it was a male 
63 Eng. ft. long, killed August 21st last; it was almost black on 
the back (blacker than a Blue Whale) ; at a very short distance 
behind the dorsal fin the line of the back bent abruptly down (as 
if humpbacked) ; the dorsal fin was farther aft than usual ; the 
difference in colour caused it to look very different; it was 
extremely tough and hard; an example of 49 ft. probably produced 
more oil than this one. 

A Norwegian who was one of the first colonists to settle on the 
Murman coast told me that he knows the " Sildehval " ; it is like 
the Whales found about Bergen, and is black on the back ; it 
arrives on the coast with the herring, for which there is no 
fixed time. 

Nearly universally recognised among the Finwhalers is the 
so-called "Bastard," from its having been supposed to be the 
offspring of mixed parentage — of a Blue and Common Rorqual. 
This variety appears to attain to larger dimensions than the 
typical form, and is described as grey, rather than the usual 
white, on the under side ; on one side the baleen plates are for a 
short distance at the anterior end entirely white, while the 
remaining portions are darker than the normal colour. The 
following lengths of specimens of B. musculus were given me; 
I have kept the '' Bastards," where mentioned, distinct from the 
common form: — 


Capt. Horn obtained : (measured in English feet) Males, April 
(4), Fin, 64, 65, 66, 68 ; Bastard, 67 ; May, Fin, 63 ; Bastard, 73; 
Fin, 65; June, Bastard, 71 ; July, Fin, 65; Aug., Fin, 63, 64,49, 
63 (this last was the Herring Whale before mentioned). Females, 
April (6), Fin,j71 ; Bastard, 80|- (very fat), 64 ; May, Fin, 64 (con- 
taining foetus about ISg- in. long, gape of mouth 3 in., length of 
flipper If in., across flukes 2^ in.) ; June, Fin, 64 (foetus 3 ft. 8 in.) ; 
July, Fin, 68^, 69 ; Bastard, 70 (foetus 23| in. long, gape of mouth 
4 in., length of flipper 2| in., base of dorsal fin Its in., across 
flukes 4| in., on upper mandible 7 hairs on left side, 8 on right, 
and 17 on the lower mandible). Average: (14) males, QM; (8) 
females, 68| Eng. ft. It will be seen from the above figures that 
of 16 typical Common Eorquals, only 1 reached 70 ft.; while out 
of 6 of the "Bastard" variety, 4 were 70 ft. and upwards, 
1 reaching the remarkable length of 80^ Eng. ft. This Whale 
was shot by the 'Murmanetz' on April 9th, the hai-poon going 
well in just behind a flipper, that is, somewhere very close to the 
heart, and the shell exploded. The wound, instead of proving 
almost immediately fatal, seemed to madden the victim, and it 
rushed away at great speed and towed the steamer, with the pro- 
peller working full speed astern, for four hours; when the ' Welda' 
being sighted, she was signalled to assist, and this vessel, steaming 
up at an angle, succeeded in lodging a harpoon just behind the 
flipper on the opposite side to the first ; this shell also exploded 
properly. The Whale in this mortally wounded condition actually 
towed the two steamers steaming full speed astern, with a boat 
from each constantly lancing it, for two hours before it succumbed. 

Capt. Andreeff obtained : (measured in English feet) Males 
(June), 49, 63, 61; females, (April 13) 65, 63, 71, 70, 63, 60, 60, 
68, 69, 64, 63, 54, 61 (Sept. 8). Average : (3) males, 57^ ft. ; (13) 
females, 63t3 ft. 

In 1885 Capt. Horn obtained : (March 20) Fin, 64, 65, 60, 58; 
Bastard, 71 ; Fin, 59, 63 (female with foetus 4 ft. long), 58, 64, 59, 
63, 56, 63, 58, 58, 61, 55, 57, 61, 58, 59; Bastard, 70; Fin, 63, 
58, 54, 57, 57, 64. Average : (28) 60JJ Norw. ft. 

Herr Wiborg obtained between April and Aug. 2 : Males 
(including a Bastard about 70 Norw. ft., killed June 3), 13; 
females, 10. On May 30th a female contained a foetus 4 Norw. ft. ; 
on the 38tli he found one of 3 ft. ; on June 9th, one of 5 ft. ; and on 
July 26th, one of 7 ft. 



Capt. Castberg obtained: Males (April 4), 70, 58, 61, 63, 

62, 55, 50, 58, 64, 65, 64, 69, 63 ft. 6 in., 67, 58, 67, 60, 65, 65, 

63, 63, 45 ft. 5 in. (Aug. 5) ; females (My 9), 40, 65 (killed May 21, 
containing foetus 5 Norw. ft.), 63, 73, 60, 70 ft. 3 in., 66, 63, 
59, 60 (July 5, foetus 5^ ft.), 53, 65 (July 7, foetus 6^ ft.), 67 
(July 8, foBtus 6 ft.), 66 (July 9, foetus 6^ ft.), 65, 63, 65 (July 24, 
foetus 7 ft.), 62, 64, 65, 60, 67 (Aug. 18). Average: (22) males, 
em Norw. ft. ; (22) females, 62 ft. 9 in. 

Capt. Berentsen obtained : Males, (April 12) 60, 58, 60, 54, 
59, 60, 67, 62, 60, 64, 63, 57, 67, 57, 60 (July 24); females, 
(April 6) 58, 61, 63 (May 2, foetus 4 ft. 4 in. Norw.), 68 (May 26, 
a great quantity of milk, probably recently calved), 67, 62, 56, 62, 
62, 67, 59, 70 (July 5, fffitus 6 ft.), 68, 62, 59, 00 (July 11, fffitus 
6 ft.), 68, 66, 69, 60, 70, 60 (Aug. 7). Average: (15) males, 60j 
Norw. ft. ; (22) females, 63 ft. 9 in. Norw. 

Capt. Sorensen's 20 specimens were from 60 to 65 Norw. ft. 
The first was killed April 5, the last July 28. On July 10 he 
found a foetus 4 ft. 8 in. Norw. long. 

Capt. H. Ellevsen obtained 57 between March 29 and Aug. 18, 
and found 4 foetuses: on June 18, in a Whale 56 Norw. ft., a 
foetus 2 ft. ; on the 20th, in a Whale 54 ft., a foetus 3 ft. ; on the 
24th, in a Whale 58 ft., a foetus 4 ft. ; and on July 7, in a Whale 
66 ft., a foetus 8 ft. 1 in. 

Capt. Berg obtained : Males (April 6), 62, 60 ; Bastard, 58 ; 
Fin, 59, 64, 58, 62 (June 20) ; females, (April 15) 70, 50 ; Bastard, 
61 (June 4, foetus 3 ft. 3 in. Norw.) ; Fin, 55, 74 (June 10, foetus 

8 ft.), 53, 65, 59 (July 1, foetus 5 ft. 5 in.), 60 (July 12, fo3tus 
1 ft. 5 in.), 67, 69 (July 27). Average: (7) males, 6 Of ft. ; (11) 
females, 627t Norw. ft. 

Capt. Selliken captured a Common Rorqual this season 763- 
Norw. ft. long in a straight line. 

Herr Andresen obtained : Males (April 12), 50, 56, 66, 64, 62, 
66, 60, 64, 64, 62, 62, 60, 63, 63, 58, 57, 61, 62, 50 (Aug. 17); 
females, 52, 66, 66, 68, 62, 68, 64, 62, 59, 66, 64, 64. Fretus in 
Whale 68 ft., on June 29, 8 ft. ; and in a Whale 64 ft., on July 24, 

9 ft. Average : (19) males, OOJi ft. ; (12) females, 63^j Norw. ft. 

Capt. S. A. Nilsen, of the ' Murmanetz,' says that he sees 
Common Rorquals pairing during May, up to about June 1st 
every year ; and that in the spring they have calves by their sides 
not more than 8 or 9 ft. long. He thinks the young Whales 
(first calf) pair in the autumn. 


RuDOLPHi's Rorqual. — Capt. Castberg's single example of 
this species was a male 45 Norw. ft. long, killed on June 19th; 
it was one of a school numbering about 20. 

Herr Andresen obtained (June 8) female 42 Norw. ft., female 
50, male 40, male 42 ; (July 3) female 48, with foetus 2 ft. 1 in. 
Nor.; female 44, female 48 (July 26). Average, (2) males, 41; 
(5) females, 463 Norw. ft. On July 18, 1885, a female Rudolphi 
was brought in to his factory at Tufjord (close S.W. of North 
Cape) 45 Norw. ft. in length, in which were found two foetuses of 
opposite sexes; the male measured 6 ft., and weighed 48 kilo- 
grams ; the female measured 4 ft., and weighed 30 kilograms. 

Capt. H. EUevsen's ships reported seeing some Rudolphi's on 
June 2nd, off Nordkyn. 

One of Capt. Selliken's whalers cruising about fifty English 
miles north of Kongsfjord (the next Fjord to the westward of Sylte- 
fjord) during splendid weather in April, the sea perfectly calm, fell 
in with thousands of Seals (? sp.). If, as I believe to be the case, 
this is well out of their usual track, it would perhaps be the result 
of an unusual condition of the ice to the north, the edge being 
reported very low down off these coasts this season. 

While staying in Syltefjord, I walked over from Capt. Selli- 
ken's to Capt. Berg's factory on Aug. iSth, and as I approached 
the first batch of Whale-krangs near the latter's I put up no less 
than twenty Ravens in a flock from them. I do not recollect to 
have previously seen quite so many together. All the factories 
have an inclined plane from the ground to the upper part of the 
boiling-house for the trolly to run up with the " blanket pieces " 
of blubber. The angle formed by the last few feet at the bottom 
is usually boarded in, to form a tool shed or sort of boatswain's 
locker. A pair of White Wagtails {M. alba) had found out a 
crevice at the top of one of these boards, and had built a nest 
inside, in the dark, and immediately under the rumbling trolly. 
The store of empty barrels was kept on the beach, enclosed by a 
turf wall (forming exactly what would be called a "Tun" in 
Iceland). In the interstice between some of the sods another pair 
of Wagtails built a nest, but, as it was entirely exposed to the 
rain, the cooper fixed half of a cask-head over it to form a roof, 
which, I was told, the birds had much appreciated. The young 
had flown from both nests at the time of my visit, but the nests 
remained ; they were formed of very fine root-fibres and a little 


moss, lined with reindeer-hair, and a few horse- and cow-hairs, 
and very fine fibres. The fibres of the nest under the inclined 
plane were coarser than those used in the sod bank. 

With regard to the average yield of oil from each species of 
the BalcBnoptericlce, I made further enquiries this season on the 
subject, and the general opinion among those whom I consulted 
was that the estimate published in ' The Zoologist,' 1886, p. 122, 
is rather a low one ; but in answer to that I would point out that 
the total yield of oil this year, inclusive of the 4th quality 
obtained from the krangs by those companies that have guano- 
factories, is, according to the returns given me, about 29,959 
petroleum-casks. Calculating the yield from the Whales obtained, 
even according to this low estimate, the amount would be 28,510 
petroleum-casks of the first three qualities of oil, and if we add 
to this, say, 3000 more for the 4th quality oil, the result is much 
above the actual amount said to have been obtained. But from 
the differences between the individual results, it seems difficult to 
arrive at any figures that would give a true average. 

The average boilers in use in the factories hold about 2000 
gallons; but more than about 1700 gallons of Sptek cannot be 
boiled in them, and this latter amount produces up to about 
18 petroleum-casks of oil (say, 750 gallons). 

The following prices offered for baleen about the middle of the 
season show the relative values per ton in each species ; each 
plate to be not under 35 centim. long (= 1;3| in.) : — Blue Whale, 
^£65 ; Rudolphi's Rorqual, £40 to £Ab ; Common Rorqual, ;£30 ; 
and Humpback, about £30. 

Some idea of the size of the harpoons used may be gathered 
from the weight of one. Including the wire grummet, the cord, 
and spunyarn lashings, but without the shell or whale-line, it 
scaled 56 kilo, (that is, over 123 lbs.). The cost of each is 80 Kr. 
(= &i 9s.) as it leaves the blacksmith, and nearly 100 Kr. (more 
than £5 10s.) when ready for use. In an old volume of the ' Ny 
illustreret Tidende' (Christiania, May 11, 1884, p. 174i there is 
some account given of Capt. Svend Foyn and the Finwhaling : it 
is there stated that the shell-carrying harpoon is said to have cost 
him 160,0000 Kr. (over £8800), when the various experiments 
undertaken are included ! 

I have to thank several of the managers whose names are 
mentioned in the preceding pages for the information they kindly 


gave me ; and especially are my thanks due to Capts. Selliken, 
Berg, and Horn, who put me up most hospitably at their 
respective factories, and the latter in addition gave me a passage 
in one of his whalers all the way from Yeretiki to Throndhjem. 
Capt. Sorensen, in addition to other information, filled up, as in 
previous years, some gaps in the table given at the end, of the 
Finwhaling Companies and their takes in 1886. 

There is one more Rudolphi's Rorqual to be added to. last 
year's list, obtained by Herr Gjsever, of Tromso; and Herr Goebel 
on the Murman coast was credited with one Blue Whale too many, 
leaving the grand total of Whales killed during the season the 

In the following table the new names are as before, printed in 
italics. The establishment at Baadsfjord is not exactly a new 
Company, being the one which was formerly at Akerfjord on 
Soroen ; Capt. Foden, the manager, was formerly captain of 
Capt. Selliken's whaler, the ' Skytten.' 

In the following table the column giving the approximate 
amount of oil obtained by all the companies is a new and I think 
interesting feature, which I was requested by some of the 
managers to publish. I have replaced the second "r" in Arra, 
as the word signifies a Guillemot in Russian, and is likely to be 
the meaning in this instance. (Cf. Alca arra, one of the synonyms 
for Brunnich's Guillemot, which is simply two onomatopoeic 
names for a Guillemot — Alka, Swedish (Alke, Norwegian), and 
Arra, Russian. 

In the annexed table, the Tromso establishment being the 
only one from which I have learnt no particulars as to the sjiecies 
of Whale, I have divided the total of 22 by guesswork, and put in 
the details in Roman figures, in order to arrive at an approximate 
total of each species. 

Since the above was in print, a paragraph has been published 
in the evening papers of March 28th, stating that the 'Vardohus' 
started from Sandefjord for this season's whaling on the 23rd of 
that month, and was wrecked during the night off Mandal. 
"Only two men were saved out of her crew of about fifty." 
I have written to make enquiries, but up to the present have 
learnt no particulars of this disaster. 


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( 333 ) 

By R. von Lendenfeld, Ph.D., F.L.S. 

Sponges are exceedingly variable in shape. Their primordial 
form is the same as that of the higher Coelenterates, the Gastrula. 
The wall of the originally simple Gastrula-sac is folded con- 
siderably in the higher sponges. Great quantities of mesodermal 
ground- substance are produced and occupy these folds ; thus the 
massive body of the sponge is formed. The gastral cavity becomee 
the oscular tube which communicates with the surrounding water 
by the oscula or vents. The terminal opening of large tubular 
sponges is generally not an osculum, but a pseudosculum. In that 
case the true oscula are situated in the inner wall of the tube. 

The sponges which are regular in shape are mostly radially 
symmetrical, without distinct anti- or metameres. There are, 
however, also forms known with a definite number of antimeres, 
but these are rare. Only one bilaterally symmetrical sponge, a 
tree-shaped Halichondrine {Esperiopsis challengeri, Kidley), has 
been described hitherto. This consists of a slender cylindrical 
stem, to the sides of which regular bilaterally symmetrical, 
kidney -shaped fronds are attached by long peduncles. The 
Hexactinellidce and Syconida are distinguished by their regular 
radially symmetrical shape. These are sac-shaped. The Tethyidcs 
are pretty regularly spherical. A great many of the Chondro- 
spongice and most Cornacuspongm, particularly the Horny 
Sponges, are quite irregular in shape. The distinctive features 
of the species appear as combinations of peculiarities which are 
very unimportant in themselves, but which combined characterise 
the form and enable one to identify the sponges. 

The size of sponges is, like their shape, subject to great varia- 
tion. The smallest sponges, excepting the doubtful Physemaria, 
are the most simple forms of calcareous sponges, the Asconida. 
The largest forms we find among the Chondrospongm and Coma- 
cuspongice. There is in the British Museum a fragment of a 
cylindrical Suffaria from the West Indies, which is nearly 
1|- metres long and 20 cm. thick. The specimens of Euspongia 
from the Bahamas, particularly the flat, cake-shaped forms, some- 
times attain a breadth of 1 metre and a height of 25 cm. The 
largest sponges known are the species of Poterion described by 


Harting. They are high, elegantly vase-shaped sponges, which 
attain a breadth of f and a height of 1^ metres. Mr. Ramsay 
dredged a massive Ra-phyrus, which weighed several hundred- 
weight, on the east coast of Australia. 

The colour of sponges is also very variable. Hexactinellid 
and Calcareous sponges are colourless, and appear brilliantly white, 
in consequence of the lustre of their spicules. Most other sponges 
have brilliant colours. Mimicry is rare. Only the forms which 
possess a sand cortex correspond in colour to the sea-bottom on 
which they grow. Most Chondrospongim and Cornaciispongice 
possess glaring colours, presumably for the purpose of warning 
and frightening other animals. 

The changes of colour exhibited by certain sponges shortly 
after death are very interesting. Nardo drew attention to this 
fact in the case of Aplys'ma aerojyhoba as early as 18:33. This 
sponge is bright sulphur-yellow in the living state, but 
when exposed to air, or fresh water, it changes this colour to 
dark blue. 

The body of the higher sponges appears as a mass of mesoder- 
mal ground-substance, in which cells of various kinds are found. 
This mass is pervaded by a complicated system of frequently 
branching canals. All free surfaces are covered with epithelia. 
The canal system is transgressing, and is essentially different in 
this respect from the csecal gastrovascular system of higher 
Coelenterates. On the surface there are numerous small pores 
which lead into this canal system. 

The entrances to the inhalent canals proper are not to be 
sought for in the pores of the skin, but lie in the floor of extensive 
subdermal cavities, into which the inhalent pores lead. Whilst 
the different parts of the subdermal cavities communicate with 
each other, the inhalent canals and their branches do not form 
any anastomoses in the interior of the sponge. They lead into 
the ciliated chambers, which are spherical or sac-shaped ex- 
tensions of the canals, clothed with a peculiar epithelium of 
collared cells. The ciliated chambers possess very small in- 
halent pores, through which the water passes from the inhalent 
canal system ; that is to say, the canals are very much con- 
stricted just before widening to form the ciliated chambers. 
The inhalent pores are more or less opposite to the exhalent 
pore, which is much larger and always single. 


The canal system of different sponges is veiy differently 
developed. The form described above is that of the most highly 
developed sponges, the Chondrospongice and Gornacuspongice. 
The entodermal as well as the ectodermal epithelia of sponges 
always consist of one single layer of cells only. In this character 
the main difference between sponges and higher Coelenterates is 
to be found. In the latter the epithelia always consist of 
several laj^ers of cells, from the lower subepithelial layer of which 
all the organs are developed. 

The epithelial cells of sponges are of two kinds onl}' — flat 
pavement-cells and collared cells. Each epithelial cell possesses a 
cilium. In the most simple sponges, the sac-shaped Asconida, the 
ectoderm consists of a single layer of flat cells on the outer 
surface of the sponge, and the entoderm forms a single layer of 
collared cells on the inner surface of the sponge ; flat entodermal 
cells do not occur in these sponges. Whilst in all, even the most 
highly developed forms, the ectodermal epithelium invariably 
consists of flat pavement-cells, we find in all sponges, with the 
exception of the above-mentioned group, two kinds of entodermal 
cells — collared cells and flat entodermal pavement-cells. The 
collared cells are confined to the ciliated chambers, whilst the 
whole exhalent canal system and the oscular tube are clothed 
with a low epithelium of flat pavement-cells. 

In the Hexactinellidce the collared cells are connected with 
each other by basal processes ; but, as a rule, they are isolated. 
Their shape is very constant — long, cylindrical, with a long, 
projecting, more or less cup-shaped, hyaline collar, which 
appears as a marginal extension of the free end of the cell. 
The long flagellum is inserted in the middle of the cup formed 
by this collar. Whilst the collared cells always appear to be filled 
with readily stainable granular protoplasm, the hyaline plasma 
of the low, flat cells is confined to a mass surrounding the 
nucleus, from which protoplasm-threads radiate to the proto- 
plasmic coating of the cell-wall. It seems that the only 
difference between the ectodermal and entodermal pavement- cells 
is their difference of height. The former are mostly slightly 
lower than the latter. 

The function of the pavement-cells does not appear at first 
sight to be a very important one, because these cells are not com- 
pletely filled with protoplasm. The collared cells in the ciliated 


chambers, on the other hand, appear to be active elements which 
perform an important function. 

The mode and process of nourishment in sponges is very 
doubtful. Feeding experiments with carmine have shown that 
not only the collared cells, as was previously believed, but 
all the epithelial cells indiscriminately possess the power of 
taking up fine particles. Infusoria, &c., liave been observed in 
the amoeboid wandering cells in the interior of the body; 
but nothing definite is yet known concerning the mode of 
nourishment. It is quite certain that the sponge must extract 
organic substances and oxygen out of the surrounding water 
somehow, and that tlie epithelial cells, being the only elements 
in contact with the water, must perform that function. It is 
also evident that sponges cannot devour large animals, as the 
extremely fine sieves which cover the inhalent pores, and the very 
small pores which lead from the inhalent canals into the ciliated 
chambers, make it impossible for large animals to enter the sponge. 

Even small Infusoria and Diatoms must encounter difficulties 
before they can reach the ciliated chambers. Great precautions 
are evidently taken to prevent all solid bodies from entering the 
canal system, and particularly the ciliated chambers. It is further 
quite clear that no nourishment can be taken up through the 
oscula, through which the water is continually flowing out. 
It seems to me most probable that the food of sponges is dis- 
solved in the water, and that the sponge procures its nourishment 
from the water in the same way that plants absorb their nourish- 
ment from the solutions circulating in the soil. 

Now the question arises, which cells perform the function of 
nutrition — tlie flat pavement epithelium of the canal- walls, or the 
collared cells of tlie ciliated chambers. The collared cells seem, 
from their situation and structure, best fitted for such a function. 
But it must be considered that, although none of the higher 
Coelenterates possess nephridia, yet the ciliated chambers 
resemble kidneys so closely that it is not impossible they 
really are such. They can hardly have to perform the combined 
functions of segregating urea and of taking up nourishment. If 
we consider the chambers as nephridia we must assume that 
the flat, pavement-epithelium, and particularly the ectodermal 
clothing of the inhalent canals, performs the function of taking up 
nourishment. My own observations have brought me to this 


conclusion. That nourishment can be taken up by indifferent ecto- 
derm cells is shown by the tapeworm, which may be here used in 
illustration on account of its highly-developed nephridia. 

The most probable explanation of the functions of the 
epithelia of sponges seems to me to be the following : — A constant 
current of water passes through the sponge. At the entrance to 
the canal system there are numerous inhalent pores, which are 
covered by very fine sieves ; at the opposite end a few large 
oscula, through which the water is expelled, are observed. If 
the sponge fed on solid substances floating in the water the 
current would of course enter by the wide open oscula, and would 
be ejected through the small pores. Many experiments have 
shown that the water invariably enters through the small pores 
and passes out through the oscula. At the entrance to the 
ciliated chambers there is a further filtering arrangement, and the 
water current, caused by the movements of the cilia in the whole 
canal system, is here impeded. The water in the inhalent canals, 
outside the ciliated chambers, is consequently under slightly 
higher pressure and enters the canal-epithelium; here the sub- 
stances necessary for the life of the sponge are taken up. Behind 
the pores which lead into the ciliated chambers — that is to say, 
in the chambers themselves — there is a lower pressure, in conse- 
quence of the increase in width of the canals towards the osculum. 
This facilitates the secretory function of the collared cells. As the 
sponge does not take up any solid substances there are no faeces, 
and the expulsion of useless substances devolves on the ciliated 
chambers. The epithelium of the inhalent canals is probably 
also respiratory in function. In this case the inhalent canals 
would represent digestive and respiratory organs, and the ciliated 
chambers nephridia. 

As the process of nourishment is cari'ied on endosmotically, 
a great quantity of useless material is probably absorbed together 
with the nutrient substances, and all this, together with the 
whole of the material oxidised in the sponge, must be extracted 
and expelled by the cells of the ciliated chambers. This may 
account for their high development in sponges, just as it ac- 
counts for the high development of nephi'idia in the tapeworm. 

Sponges are distinguished from other Coelenterates by their 
highly developed mesoderm, and the degree of differentiation 
attained by its elements. Whilst all the organs of the Hydro- 


medusce, Corals, and Ctenopliora are ectodermal or entodermal, 
those of the Sponges are mesodermal. In the former the cells of 
the epithelia are differentiated ; the epithelium of sponges is 
alwajfs simple. The muscles, nerves, gland-cells, &c., which we 
find in sponges are not modified epithelium cells, but differentiated 
elements of the mesoderm. There is no subepithelium in sponges. 
The same kinds of cells which we find in the Epithelaria, with the 
exception of the cnidoblasts, are also found in sponges. But here 
all cells which do not clothe the surface are of mesodermal origin. 

Movements in adult sponges were observed by Aristotle. 
These movements are performed by cells which are called con- 
tractile fibre-cells by F. E. Schulze. They are elongated, spindle- 
shaped elements, which are mostly found around the pores. 
I have also found such cells in other parts of the sponge, 
and Sollas describes similar elements in the sphincters which 
divide the subdermal cavities of the Geodidce from the inhalant 

The skeleton of the Sponges which belong to the order 
Cornacuspongice appears as a network of fibres, which are com- 
posed of series of spicules cemented together by spongin. Reniera, 
Halichondria, &c., possess only a very small quantity of spongin. 
In the Chalinince and Desmacidonidce the number and size of the 
spicules decreases, and the spicules are replaced by the spongin- 
cement more and more. In the Horny Sponges the siliceous 
spicules have disappeared entirely from the supporting skeleton, 
which consists exclusively of spongin — a substance identical with 
the cement of the Halichondria skeleton. There may be foreign 
bodies imbedded in the spongin-fibres. The spongin of different 
Cornacuspongics is not always the same ; according to Eidley and 
Vosmaer it difi'ers in diff'erent cases in its behaviour towards 
polarised light. The colour of the spongin is very variable; 
the cement of many Halichondridoz is hyaline, that of many Des- 
macidomd(B and Spongidce light brown, of A2)lysillidce light orange 
and sometimes black. The horny fibres of the Spongelidce appear 
light yellow and transparent. 

The spongin of dry skeletons is, as a rule, darker than that of 
living sponges or spirit specimens ; it is very tough and elastic. 
According to Ivrukenberg, the chemical composition of spongin 
is C3oH4eN90, s. and is thus similar to that of chitin, conchio- 
lin, and cornein. Spongin is dissolved by boiling acids, and, 


according to Passelt, is decomposed when heated in air without 
first becoming sticky. My own experiments show that it becomes 
soft and sticky in superheated water (200°). 

The spongin always appears in layers. It surrounds in con- 
centric layers, of different refracting powers, the spicule-bundles 
of Halichondrida, as it does also the axial thread or pith cylinder 
of Horny Sponges. It is secreted by gland-cells. These elements 
are pear-shaped, and similar to the gland-cells of the skin ; the 
protoplasm is dense and granular, the nucleus large and spherical. 
The cells are attached by a slender peduncle to the surface of 
the fibre, they are pretty closely packed, and form a more or less 
continuous mantle investingthe growing parts of the skeleton fibres. 
These cells have been termed " spongoblasts" by their discoverer, 
F. E. Schulze. They occur only on those parts of the fibrous 
skeleton which are still growing, and disappear as soon as the 
fibres attain their full size. The solid reticulate skeleton 
of the Sponcjidis, known to everyone as the Bath Sponge, con- 
sists of a few thick, radial, so-called main fibres, between which 
a fine network of connecting fibres is spread out. In all the 
fibres we can distinguish an axial thread which consists of a 
granular substance, and which is surrounded by spongin. At the 
joining points of the fibres we see that the layers are not continuous, 
and that all the axial threads are not in connection with each 
other. The main fibres grow principally at the ends in length, 
and afterwards in thickness ; the connecting fibres rapidly reach 
their full thickness, and do not grow in length at all. The 
axial threads, on the surface of which the spongin is precipitated, 
form a network, but they are in no connection with the axial 
threads of the main fibres. In the latter, foreign bodies are 
often found which are used by the sponge as material to build 
up its own skeleton, and which are cemented together with 
spongin. Tbey are selected from the bodies which accidentally 
fall on the surface of the sponge, chiefly sand-grains, Foraminifera- 
shells, and siliceous spicules of other sponges. 

Spermatozoa and ova are observed in sponges. The sper- 
matozoa possess rounded or sharp-pointed, slender heads. They 
are formed by the continued fission of spherical mesoderm cells, 
derived from amoeboid wandering cells. In the Calcareous 
Sponges these cells divide first into two— a sperm mother-cell 
and a covering ceU. By continued division the spermatozoa 


are formed from the former ; the latter does not change, and sur- 
rounds the ripening sperm-ball. The mature spermatophores are 
often found in the walls of the ciliated chambers. In the Silicea 
no such structures are observed. The sperm mother-cells form by 
continued division sperm -balls without covering cell. The sper- 
matozoa lie radiallj' in the extended wall of the sperm mother- 
cell. In Aplysilla and many other sponges the sperm-balls 
accumulate in certain parts of the body, particularly in the 
trabeculse and membranes, which are spread out in the basal 
or central lacunae. They are often surrounded by a peculiar 
endothelium, clothing the cavities in which they are contained. 
This endothelium consists of irregular, flat cells, which lie in 
several layers one over the other. Farther outward these cells 
become more irregular, and appear to be separated by layers of 
intercellular substance, becoming very similar to the common 
connective-tissue cells. At the time of ripening, the spermatozoa 
pass into the canals and swarm out through them. 

The ova are also derived from wandering cells. As they 
mature, they lose their mobility, increase in size, and become 
spherical, while the nucleus increases in size. The ripe ova are 
destitute of a thick cell-wall, and lie scattered or in groups in 
the mesodermal ground substance. They are often surrounded 
by endothelial capsules similar to those of the sperm-balls. In 
some cases the ovum appears to be attached by a special 
peduncle — a differentiated endothelial cell — to the capsule. 

In the hermaphroditic sponges the ova and spermatozoa, to 
prevent self-fertilisation, do not mature at the same time. They 
are fructified within the body of the mother, where the first stages 
of development take place. 

The most interesting and the least known organ system in 
sponges is their nervous system. The first person who pointed 
out that the sponges were sensitive was no other than Aristotle. 
A few years ago Prof. Stewart demonstrated Palpocils of Grantia 
at a meeting of the Royal Microscopical Societj', but did not pub- 
lish a description of them at the time. Subsequently I described 
certain elements in Calcareous Sponges, which I considered as 
nervous elements, and since then I have found similar sensitive 
cells in a number of species belonging to various groups. 

Recently also Prof. Stewart has published a figure of his 
Palpocils, and as he has courteously allowed me to examine his 


slides, I can now sum np our knowledge on this subject as follows: — 
In the circumference of the inhalent pores, or scattered irregularly 
over the outer surface, or in the membranes which traverse the 
lacunar cavities in the interior of the sponge, or also round the 
pores in the cribriform plates which cover the pseudoscula of 
certain tubular species, nerve-cells are found. Thej' are rarely 
single, much more frequently in groups of from three to six. 
In Grantia high and slender conical processes are found on the 
outer surface. In the widened basal portion of these, oval cells 
are situated from which irregular processes radiate. One of these 
processes is much larger than all the others, and extends up- 
wards in the form of a fine thread to the distal end of the organ. 
The other processes of the cell extend downwards. In each organ 
several such cells are found. These organs are the Palpocils of 
Stewart, who, not noticing the fact that they are polycellular, gave 
them that name. Possessing this extraordinary and most im- 
portant peculiarity, I have termed them Synocils. It is remark- 
able that these structures have escaped observation hitherto, but 
it appears highly probable that the sponge has the power of 
retracting them, so that they are visible only under exceptionally 
favourable circumstances. It is very likely that the groups of 
cells previously observed by me, and described as sensitive, are 
nothing else than retracted Synocils. 

The nervous system appears to be most highly developed 
in Eiispongia canaliculata, where continuous zones of nervous 
tissue — sensitive cells above and ganglion cells below — are 
observed surrounding certain lacunose areas below the surface. 

The collections made during the voyages of the 'Alert' and 
' Challenger,' as well as my own labours in the Australian Seas, 
have extended our knowledge of the geographical distribution of 
sponges so that we are now able to form a general idea of it. 
Sponges occur in all seas. Those living at great depths are 
mostly cosmopolitan, while those which occur in shallow water are 
very different in various localities. The Tropical and Polar zones 
possess not nearly so rich a sponge fauna as the Temperate zone. 

Besides thirteen families of Hexactinellida and Lithistida, 
which, being deep-sea sponges, are mostly cosmopolitan, there are 
thirty-three families of marine sponges which live mostly in 
shallow water, the distribution of which I will discuss. Of these, 
twenty-five are cosmopolitan, two occur in the North Atlantic, and 


six in the Australian Seas only. The number of cosmopolitan 
genera is about twelve : 90 per cent, of the genera are limited to 
small districts. 

The Australian Seas are the richest in peculiar genera and 
families, principall}' belonging to those grouj)s -which we consider 
as the most highly developed. Of the Calcispongice, the Teichonidce 
and SylleihidcB are confined to Australia, and the Leuconiclce are 
very plentiful. In the same way the highest Chondros2)ongi(e, the 
Tethydce, are represented in the Australian Seas by seven genera, 
whilst from all other parts of the globe only three genera are 
known. The number of species of Australian Chondrosidcs and 
Chondrillidce is likewise greater than from other parts. The 
Keratosa, the most highly developed Cornacuspongice, are repre- 
sented by thirty-three genera, with more than two hundred 
species, in the Australian Seas ; whilst only nine genera, with 
about fifty species, are known from other parts of the globe. 
The lower forms of Cornacuspojigm are distributed pretty equally. 

The Ectyonmce and Chalinince, which are rich in spongin, are 
prevalent in the Australian Seas, whilst the Espierellin(e, which 
possess very little spongin, are rare. The latter, as well as 
the ChoristidcB and Suheritidm, are most abundant in the North 
Atlantic Ocean. Australia, the land-fauna of which appears an 
age behind that of other continents, harbours on its shores the 
most highly developed sponge-fauna. 

The localisation of the different groups of marine sponges 
appears particularly remarkable, considering that the fresh- 
water sjjonges are more or less cosmopolitan. The familj^ Spon- 
gillidcB is represented in all quarters of the globe, and the common 
English fresh-water sponge, or very insignificant varieties of it, 
occurs everywhere. This is particularly remarkable in the case of 
Australia. Whilst the marine sponges on its coast are entirely 
different from those of the North Atlantic, the fresh-water sponges 
found in the isolated rivers of Australia are the same or very 
similar to those of our English streams, although the physical 
conditions are as different as they can be. This shows that the 
continued inbreeding of the fresh-water sponges caused by their 
isolation destroys their variability, whilst the continued hybridi- 
sation of the marine sponges causes a continual renewal of their 
variability, and further demonstrates that the efficient cause of the 
variability of species must be sought in their hybridisation. 

( 338 ) 

Death of Mr. John Gatcombe.— As an old contributor to this Journal 
the name of Mr. John Gatcombe, of Plymouth, will be familiar to our 
readers, and we regret to have to announce his death, which took place, 
at the age of 68, on the 28th April last. He was born at Knowle, in 
Somersetshire, but spent the greater part of his life at Plymouth. As might 
be inferred from the notes which he contributed from time to time to these 
pages, Mr. Gatcombe was a naturalist who delighted in the out-door observa- 
tion of the habits of birds, and his intimate acquaintance with a large 
number of species rendered his notes always reliable. He was once lucky 
enough to meet with and secure a pair of the Alpine Accentor near Plymouth 
(Yarrell, i. p. 297). The keen interest which he took in Ornithology made 
him always willing to assist others with information, and the Editor can 
recall with gratitude many acts of kindness on his part in helping to clear 
up doubtful points, especially in connection with the seasonal changes of 
plumage in sea-birds, to which he had paid considerable attention. Should 
anyone be found to undertake a work on the Avifauna of Devon, Mr. Gat- 
combe's scattered notes will be found of material value in its preparation, 
and their republication in a collected and condensed form would furnish a 
pleasing memorial of a very worthy naturalist, who in a quiet way continually 
strove to further the interest of Ornithology in his own county. 


Hedgehog attacking a Hare.— A neighbour has recently (April 29th) 
told me of a strange capture of a Hare. He was crossing one of his fields 
late in the evening when he heard a Hare crying. He went in the 
direction, expecting to find one in a trap, but was astonished to come 
across one attacked by a Hedgehog, which was holding on to one of its hind 
legs. The Hare, a fully-grown one, seemed paralysed by fear, and allowed 
itself to be lifted up. Directly the Hedgehog was shaken off it died in my 
informant's hands, although the injury it had received from the bite of its 
assailant was but slight. Such a curious fact as this seems worthy of 
record.— MuiiRAY A. Mathew (Stonehall, Wolfscastle, Pembrokeshire). 

A Pied Hare.— In January last one of my friends shooting with me 
here in the big wood killed a Hare which had the whole of one side from 
nose to rump pure white, and on the other side a patch of white as big as 
one's hand behind the shoulder. I never before heard of a variety 
occurring in the woods here, even when they were full of hares and more 
than 150 were shot in a day. Now, when not more than thirty are killed 
in a day, the appearance of a variety is more curious. — J. Whitaker 
(Rainworth, near Mansfield). 



The supposed Serotine in the Newcastle Museum. — In 1884 
I communicated to the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society' a list of 
the Mammalia of the county of Norfolk, and, in instituting a comparison 
between the various published lists for the eastern portion of England from 
the Thames to the Tweed, I ventured to express an opinion (like yourself 
at p. 171 siqna) that the Serotine mentioned in Messrs. Meunell and 
Perkins's ' Catalogue of the Mammalia of Northumberland and Durham ' 
as having been killed at Cleadon would prove to be a Noctule. In August 
of the same year I paid a visit to the Newcastle Museum, and, through 
the kindness of Mr. J. Hancock, had an opportunity of examining the 
specimen in question, which proved to be, as you suggest, a Noctule. A 
note on the subject, contributed by Mr. W. D. Roebuck, will be found in 
the 'Naturalist' for April, 1885, p. 202. This is, I believe, the first 
recorded occurrence of the Noctule in the county of Durham, but Mr. 
Eoebuck states that it is a common and widely diffused species throughout 
Yorkshire. In my notes on this species I find the earliest record I have of 
its appearance is March (no day), on one occasion only, but in most years 
about April 20lh ; whilst in 1871 I saw several on the evening of Sept. 
19th; on another occasion others on Oct. 23rd; and in 1872 Mr. Frank 
Norgate sent me a specimen which he shot at Sparham on Nov. 5th. — 
T. Southwell (Norwich). [Some further notes on this subject unavoidably 
stand over. — Ed.] 

Reported Occurrence of Vespertilio murinus in Dorsetshire. — In 
your remarks on British Bats (p. 161) I am credited with having noted 
this species amongst the Bats occurring in Dorsetshire, but I cannot 
recollect having ever reported it. It has occurred to me, however, that you 
may have seen Vesjiertilio murinus recorded in my father's remarks on the 
' Fauna of Dorsetshire ' (first series, vols. 2, 3, and 4). If so. his notes are 
intended to refer to the Common Pipistrelle. The following I believe to 
be a correct list oF the Bats found in Dorsetshire: — Vesperugo noctula, 
which is common (I found several some years ago in a hole of an old walnut 
tree); Vesperugo pipislrellus, which is also common; Vespertilio natter eri; 
V. dauhentonii (abundant); V. mystacinus ; Plecotus auritus (not common); 
Synotus barbastellus, also not common, though a few were found in the 
tower of the church when it was restored in 1875 ; and lastly Wiinolophus 
ferrum-equinum. — C. W. Dale (Manor House, Glanvilles Wootton). 

[The occurrence of R. ferrum-equinum in Dorsetshire is mentioned in 
Bell's ' British Quadrupeds ' (2nd ed. 1874, pp. 92, 93), in a communication 
from Mr. James Salter, who saw several and captured one in the haunted 
room at Tomson Manor House in September, 1865. — Ed.] 

Change of Habits in the Brown Rat. — The habits of the Brown Rat 
in England are sometimes very similar to those which it is said (p. 180) to 
have assumed in New Zealand. This is especially the case in summer, at 


which season it is very fond of takiug up its abode by the water side. It 
then feeds greedily on all the dead fish it can find, thus causing the Otter 
to be accused of much destruction of which it is not guilty. Pollard willow 
trees are very favourite abodes of the Brown Rat; I once found the 
remains of a full-grown Partridge in one of these dwellings. It also 
frequently makes its nest in thorn fences, not only in low-lying and wet 
lands, but even on high ground. The Brown Rat can dive and swim very 
expertly. It is far more common by the water side in summer than in 
winter, probably finding the water too cold at the latter season.— E. W. H. 
Blagg (Cheadle, Staffordshire). 


Nesting of the Stock Dove in East Lothian.— Having been informed 
by Mr. McDonald, gamekeeper, Hailes, that a pair of Pigeons had taken 
up their abode among the crags of Trapraiu Law, and that he was certain 
that it was not the Ring Dove or the Rock Dove, I suspected it was the 
Stock Dove [Colmiha anas). On visiting the spot on April 9th I found 
my suspicion confirmed. The birds were very shy, but I managed to get 
a very good view of them. A number of Jackdaws were persecuting them 
unmercifully. Twice we saw one of the Stock Doves disappear among the 
rabbit-burrows on the steep face of the hill, and have no doubt that they 
were breeding there. We climbed up as far as possible, and observed one 
of them issue from the place where we saw it disappear. I picked up a 
feather, which I sent to Mr. Evans, of Edinburgh, and he pronounced it to 
be undoubtedly one of the wing-coverts of the Stock Dove. Mr. McDonald 
will, so far as he is able, see that the strangers remain unmolested. 
A specimen — the first obtained in East Lothian — was exhibited by Mr. 
Evans at a meeting of the Royal Physical Society on March 17th, 1886. 
It was shot near Longniddry in January, 1886, while feeding in company 
with a number of Ring Doves. A second specimen was netted, along with 
Ring Doves, in the same locality on March 5, 1886.— G. Pow (Dunbar, N.B.) 

Plumage of the Tufted Duck.— Mr. Macpherson, writing under this 
heading (p. 112), says, "Perhaps Mr. Whitaker can throw some light on 
the subject." I can only say I have often noticed young birds of this 
species marked with white or dirty white about the face, these markings 
being usually small white patches at the base of the upper and lower 
mandibles. Others have the white extending from the bill to the eyes. 
These markings are invariably lost during the autumn, and are not 
reassumed till the bird is very much advanced in years, and then only in 
the females, so far as I have noticed. This marking in old birds must be 
very rare, as in the many hundreds I liave seen I have only noticed it once; 
and Mr. Hall, who has shot these ducks for fifty years, was very much 
struck with it, he never having seen one ijefore. I shall (all being well). 


during the coming summer and autumn, have the opportunity of seeing a 
good many of these ducks, and will ascertain the percentage of these 
varieties. The Tufted Ducks are in full breeding plumage at the end of 
March, and have a very pleasant note, or number of notes, during the 
pairing- time. As nearly as I can render them they are " tuc, tuc, tuck ; 
quit, quit, quitta ; ivheeou, ivliit; quit, quit, quee." — J. Whitaker (Rain- 
worth, near Mansfield). 

Blackcap in Co. Waterford in January. — I can supplement Mr. 
Ussher's note in the January number of 'The Zoologist' (p. S7). Since 
January 19th a male Blackcap frequented a garden in the suburbs of 
Waterford. He came several times daily to a window-sill of the adjacent 
house for food in the shape of crumbs and scraps of meat, which were 
spread there for small birds. With these he kept up a constant warfare, and 
with such success that they forsook the sill which he generally frequented. 
This bird was found dead on a gravel-path, close to its usual haunts, on 
February 13th, though there was no appearance of injury of any kind. — 
J. N. White (Rocklands, Co. Waterford). 

Wood Pigeons casting up Pellets. — Referring to Mr. Mann's note 
under this head (p. 193), I would suggest that probably the Wood Pigeon 
casts up "pellets" only at certain seasons of the year, i.e., when it has 
been feeding upon certain kinds of food. A few days ago (May 14th) 
I found several " castings " of this bird, composed chiefly of the husks of 
oats. Rooks at this season eject a vast number of " pellets," composed of 
grain shells, and they never cast up pellets, I believe, when their diet does 
not consist chiefly of grain, unless possibly they reject the wing-cases 
of beetles, and other similar substances. — E. W. H. Blagg (Cheadle, 

A new Egg-drill. — I have forwarded an egg-drill which was made for 
me by the Dental Manufacturing Company, 6, Lexington Street. I believe 
they call it a "burr," but it has to be specially made, for in a similar 
instrument used by dentists the point is not sharp (its use being, 1 believe, 
to enlarge cavities for filling). It is certainly far and away the best drill 
I have ever used, as an infinitesimal amount of pressure is sufficient to 
make the necessary hole. I may mention, not as an example of any skill 
on my part, but in commendation of the instrument, that I have bored a 
moorhen's egg with 175 holes witliout breaking the egg. T have also had 
a similar di'ill made, half an inch in diameter, for embryotomy in large eggs. 
— Heubekt Langton (115, Queen's Road, Brighton). 

[We have tested the drill in question, for which we are much obliged, 
and have found it a veiy efficient instrument. It is so well balanced 
that with ordinary care fracture of an egg when drilling it is well-nigh 
impossible. — Ed.1 



Varieties of the Viper.— -I have just seen four Vipers, Pelias herus, 
which were killed on the hills in the neighbourhood of Reigate. In three 
of them the dorsal line was of a brickdust colour, but in one of them it was 
very nearly black. In all the specimens the ground colour was brownish 
yellow. The country folks here — and I daresay elsewhere — regard these 
varieties as distinct species, and call them them the " red" and the " black" 
adder respectively. The " red adder " is credited with red eyes, and a 
greater fierceness of disposition and a deadlier poison-fang than the black 
variety. The difference of colour is also sometimes regarded as indicating 
a difference of sex, the "black adder" being the male. Is there any ground 
for this supposition ? In the case I have mentioned the " black" specimen 
was undoubtedly smaller than any of the red ones. A full-grown mouse, 
perfectly undigested, was found inside the former." These snakes were 
killed on account of their fat, for which chemists give — or used to give — 
five shillings an ounce. The fat is supposed to be a specific not only for 
adder-bites, but for all wounds and sores. — E. P. Larken (Gatton Tower, 

[If our correspondent would kindly procure some of these varieties, and 
forward them in " pickle-bottles " filled with spirit, they would be very 
acceptable for the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. — Ed.] 


Axius Btirhynchus in Cornwall. — Mr. Fortescue Millett in March 
last obtained on Marazion beach, from under a stone just above low- water 
mark, a specimen of Axius stirhynchus (a female, in berry), which was 
placed alive in his aquarium. The occurrence (or rather the observation) 
of this crustacean on our coast is exceedingly rare. — Thomas Cobxish 


Practical Entomology at South Kensington.— The Natural History 
branch of the British Museum in Cromwell Road has just received a most 
important donation from Lord Walsingham, consisting of a collection of 
Lepidoptera with their larvae, mainly British butterflies {Bhopalocera) and 
certain families of moths (Heterocera), including SpJiiiu/idcB, Bonihijces, 
Pseudohomhyces, NoctucB, OeometridcB, and Fyrcdida. There is also a fine 
series of Indian species, collected and preserved at Dharmsala, in the 
Punjab, by the Rev. John H. Hocking, and specimens of Exotic silk- 
producing Bombyces, in various stages of their development, obtained mostly 
from Mons. Wailly. With very few exceptions, the British larvae, which 
retain a most life-like appearance, and are placed upon models of the plants 
upon which tbey feed, have been prepared and mounted by Lord Walsingham 


himself; the process adopted having been inflation of the empty skin 
of the caterpillar by means of a glass tube and india-rubber spray-blower 
over a spirit-lamp guarded by wire gauze. This has been found a simpler 
and quicker process, and one admitting of more satisfactory manipulation, 
than the alternative system of baking by means of heated metal plates or 
ovens. The specimens have mostly retained their natural colour, but in 
the case of the bright green species it has been found necessary to introduce 
a little artificial dry pigment. The whole collection consists of 2540 
specimens of larvae, belonging to 776 species, together witli a series of 
the perfect insects of each species. As continued exposure to light is, 
unfortunately, most detrimental to the colour of insects, this collection 
cannot be exhibited permanently ; but, for the advantage of those who would 
like to see it without any restriction, it has been placed in the eutrauce- 
hall of the Museum for a period of six weeks, from May 16th to June 25th, 
so as to include the Whitsuntide holidays and the Jubilee week. 

Bees occupying a Bird's Nest.— When taking a walk through some 
woods near Taunton I came across a nest of the Loug-tailed Tit, Acredula 
caudata, which was quite new, but when I came to look for the entrance 
I could not find one anywhere; so I removed the top of the nest (which 
was fully lined with feathers and ready for eggs), and found in the middle 
a piece of comb about the size of a plum, together with several wild bees. 
I have not unfreqnently found old nests of the Wren occupied by Bees, 
but I have never before discovered newly-built nests tenanted by them. 
Has anybody else noticed this unusual habit? — A. H. Buceland (4, East 
Street, Taunton). 


Zoological Society of London. 

May 3, 1887. — Dr. E. Hamilton, Vice-President, in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to 
the Society's Menagerie during the month of April, and called attention 
to two Polar Bears, Ursus maritlmus, presented by Mr. Joseph Monteith ; 
and to two Crested Ducks, Anas ciistata, from the Falkland Islands, 
presented by Mr. F. E. Cobb. 

Extracts were read from a letter addressed to the Secretary by 
Mr. Roland Trimen, respecting the obtaining of a second example of 
Laniarins atrocroceus in South Africa. 

Mr. J. Jenner Weir exhibited and made remarks on a skull of a Boar 
from New Zealand. 

A communication was read from Mr. G. A. Boulenger, containing the 
description of a new Snake of the genus Lamprophis, based on a specimen 


living in the Society's Gardens, which had been presented to the collection 
by the Rev. G. H. R. Fisk. 

A communication was read from Mr. J. H. Leech, containing an account 
of the Diurnal Lepidoptera of Japan and Gorea, based on a collection 
recently made by tlie author during a recent entomological expedition to 
those countries. The total number of species in Mr. Leech's list was 155. 
In Japan Mr. Leech had discovered one new species, Papilio mikado, and 
in Corea four others. 

Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe gave an account of a second collection of birds 
formed by Mr. L. Wray in the mountains of Perak, Malay Peninsula. This 
collection contained examples of about fifty species, of which ten were 
described as new to science. 

Mr. H. J. Elwes pointed out the characters of some new species of 
Dinrual Lepidoptera, specimens of which had been obtained by him during 
his recent visit to Sikkim. 

A communication was read from Mr. Lionel de Niceville, containing an 
account of some new or little-known Indian Butterflies. — P. L. Sclater, 

Entomological Society of London. 

May 4, 1887.— Dr. D. Sharp, F.Z.S., President, in the chair. 

The Rev. C. Ellis-Stevens, B,D., of Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.; 
Mr. Frederic Merrifield, of 24, Vernon Terrace, Brighton ; Mr. Henry 
Rowland Brown, B.A., of Oxhey Grove, Stanmore; and Mr. Coryndon 
Matthews, of Ivybridge, Devon, were elected Fellows. 

Mr. Wm. Warren exhibited specimens of Stigmonota pallifrontana, 
S. internana, Asthenia pyymaiana (Hiib.), and A. ahiegana (Dup.) [subse- 
quana. Haw.). 

Mr. Stainton remarked that the two last-named species, Asthenia 
pygmcRana and A. ahiegana, both had white underwings, and were in other 
respects very similar. It was formerly thought that Haworth's suhsequana 
was identical with the species previously figured by Hiibner &s pygmaana ; 
but now that the two allied species were critically examined it appeared 
that the species described by Haworth as suhsequana was not Hiibner's 
pygmaana, but another species known as the abiegana of Duponchel, dating 
only fiom 1842, so that Haworth's name suhsequana had priority by 30 years. 

Mr. F. Pascoe exhibited a specimen of Diaxines Taylori (Wath.), taken 
out of the stem of an orcliid — SaccolahiiDu ca;leste — growing in an orcliid- 
house at Croydon, and received from Moulmein, in Burmah. 

Mr. M'Lachlan exhibited nearly two hundred specimens of Neuroptera, 
in beautiful condition, collected by Mr. E. Meyrick in various parts of 
Australia and Tasmania, comprising about seventy species. There were 
between forty and fifty species of Trichoptera, including moth-like forms 


from Western Australia, allied to Plectrotarsus, Kol. ; and other species 
belonging to a group represented by Hydropsyche Edwardsii (M'Lach.). 
Among the Planipennia the most remarkable insect was a new species of 
the singular genus Psychopsis (Newm.), from Mount Kosciusko, where it 
was common. Of Pseudo-Neuroptera there was a species of EmbiidcB 
from Western Australia, and certain curious Psocidm and Perlidm. The 
Trichoptera appeared to be exclusively confined to Sericostomatidm, Lepto- 
ceridcB, and Hydropsycldda. Mr. Meyrick made some remarks on the 
localities in which he had collected the species. 

Mr. M. Jacoby exhibited three specimens of a new species oi Xenarthra, 
collected by Mr. G. Lewis in Ceylon ; also a species of Loxoprosopus from 

Mr. C. 0. Waterhouse exhibited a living example of an Ichneumon — 
Ophion mucruriun — bred from a larva of Callosamia proniethea, a North- 
American species of SatiirnidcE. He also exhibited a number of wings of 
Lepidoptera denuded of the scales, in order to show the neuration for study, 
and explained the method he had adopted for removing the scales. The 
wings were first dipped in spirit and then placed in eau de javelle (potassium 
hyperchlorite). Mr. Waterhouse said lie had sometimes substituted per- 
oxide of hydrogen for eau de javelle, but the action was much less rapid, 
although the results were satisfactory. 

Mr. Poulton observed that, although the pigment had disappeared, he 
thought the scales were not removed, but were merely rendered transparent; 
and he remarked that the discovery of some chemical for softening chitiue 
had long been wanted to prepare specimens for the microscope. The 
discussion was continued by Mr. M'Lachlau and Dr. Sharp. 

Mr. Slater read a note, extracted from the ' Medical Press,' on the 
subject of the poison used by certain tribes of African Bushmen in the 
preparation of their arrows. It was stated that a poison was prepared by 
them from the entrails of a caterpillar which they called " N'gwa." 

The Rev. W. W. Fowler read a note received from Mr. J. Gardner, of 
Hartlepool, in which it was stated that Dytiscus marginaUs possessed the 
power of making a loud buzzing noise like that of a humble bee. 

Dr. Sharp said he was familiar with the humming of Dytiscus mar- 
ginaUs previous to flight, and thought it might perhaps be connected with 
an inflation of the body for the purpose of diminisbing the specific gravity 
of the insect ; he had noticed also that it was occasionally accompanied by 
the discharge of fluid from the body. 

Mr. Wm. White read a paper " On the occurrence of anomalous spots 
on Lepidopteious larvse." A discussion ensued, in which Mr. Poulton, 
and others took part. 

Mr. Waterhouse read " Descriptions of new genera and species of 
BuprestidcB." — H. Goss, Hon. Secretary. 


Vol. XL] JULY, 1887. [No. J 27. 


By Matthias Dunn.* 

When full-grown. Pollack have very peculiar traits, apparently 
combining in one species the habits of more than one of the Gadidce, 
sometimes showing the intense love of locality of the Bib, and at 
another evincing all the wild and roving disposition of the Hake. 
Thus for months together in spring and summer Pollack generally 
live in a uniform hunt-and-rest life, congregating by day around 
the rocky ledges of the sea-bottom near the deepest water, circling 
around a certain spot, and often in such numbers as to appear 
like a living column standing in the sea. At such times these 
creatures seem to be resting or sleeping (as most fish sleep), 
probably with one half or more of their senses and functions of 
the body really at rest. When in this state Pollack will not 
attack or prey on the smaller fishes unless they come very near 
or within the circle. 

With the night the scene changes ; then, thoroughly awake, 
every Pollack leaves the circle, and, hungry and ravenous, each 
steals away to hunt on his own account. But few living fishes 
come amiss to their stomachs. With the morning light all return 
to their old haunts. 

* Communicated to the Polytechnic Society, Falmouth. The names of 
fish adopted are those employed by Couch. 



In the autumn this systematic life may be broken up at 
any time by the passing near to the reef of a shoal of Sprats, 
Pilchards, or Anchovies. The sight of these calls forth all 
the wolfish i^ropensities of the Pollack, which steal away after 
them, leaving the ledge probably for ever to gorge on these 
small fry. 

The autumn migrations of the Pilchard afford a grand time 
for the Pollack. Then almost every circle on the coast is broken 
up, especially in the undisturbed haunts around the Land's End 
and Scilly Isles, and they continue to follow the shoals along the 
coast, and often far up the English Channel, keeping to the high 
ground when seeking rest, but always with their eyes on the 
object of their pursuit, and seldom taking to settled life again 
until some time after spawning in March. 

When catching prey the habit of the Pollack is to sneak along 
quietly until within darting distance of their object ; then calling 
into use their powerful fins they dart like arrows on their victims. 
This is also their habit in taking the bait. There is no coaxing 
or waiting on the part of the fisherman for them to swallow it, as 
with the Hake or Conger ; as a rule, they rush like a Salmon 
taking a fly. 

As to the question whether the food of the Pollack is 
swallowed head or tail first, I think that all dead and wounded 
fish are taken into the stomach as they are found, but all live 
food is swallowed head foremost, those not caught in this way 
being turned in the mouth. There is more readiness with the 
mouth of fish than is generally supposed. I have seen Pollack 
stop short in their dart at food, and play it in and out of their 
mouths, as if tasting it, finally leaving it— such food being 
probably stale, or sodden with water. The chief reason why the 
Pollack swallows live food head downward is that it does not bite 
or tear its food in pieces like the Carnivora, but simply swallows 
it alive, often without a scratch. If the head were upwards in 
the stomach, no doubt the little fellows would force their way 
out again while the Pollack was in the act of securing other prey. 
How long they remain alive in the stomach of the larger Gadidce 
— for all take their food in the same manner — it is difficult 
to say. I have known Pollack drawn up from a depth of eighty 
feet, and taken into the boat and killed, and on being opened 
I have seen Pilchards and Herrings taken alive from their 


stomachs. These fishes must have been secured and swallowed 
some time before the Pollack took the fatal bait. 

Young Pollack do not take to circling until above four pounds 
weight, probably in the third year of their existence. Before that 
time they may be found on any rocky bottom, but more especially 
where the ground is very rough near the shore. 

When shoals of Sprats or Lav;nces appear, the Pollack will 
congregate also in shoals, and with a rush attack them. An 
evening rout once seen will hardly be forgotten, for they will 
dart against the sides of a boat, if in the line of their attack, when 
on their hungry errand. 

When about four months old, before taking the bait, they 
may often be seen to put their lips against the line, and in this 
manner to swim along and trace it up to the surface of the sea ; 
they are seldom caught after tracing the line. 

Again, on some of the extensive ledges off our coasts, it has 
been found that all Pollack do not concentrate on one spot, but 
several circles may be found on one ledge. That each fish in 
these circles has a knowledge of locality and of its own haunt 
may be learnt from the fuel that tlie practical fisherman, in some 
instances, knows where these circles may be found, and will fish 
on the best of them when it suits his purpose ; and although he 
may catch all the fish in one circle, and days may pass between 
his fishing on the other parts of the reef, it will be found 
that this has in no way lessened the numbers living in the 
other circles. Although, being night-feeders, the fish must of 
necessity, when hunting the ledge, pass by and over this depopu- 
lated haunt, the old associations are too strong for them to think 
of occupying it. 

Many fishes have the power of changing their colour, and 
adapting themselves to the nature of the ground on which they 
are living. This has been noticed in the Pollack. Those living 
on the reefs where the long dark Laminaria sea-weed abounds 
will be found to be of a dark olive, varying very little from the 
colour of the weeds ; while those found in deeper water, where 
the rocks are lighter, will be very much of their colour. This 
is also observable in young Pollack, which, when food is scarce, 
will entirely leave the rocky and weedy sea-bottom, and hover 
around the brown sands in which the Sand Launce takes up its 
night-quarters. It will then be seen that these Pollack are quite 


brown in colour — in fact, are the very shade of the sand over 
which they have been swimming. 

In the spring of the year the little red Pollack may be found 
inshore. They have a decided tinge of red in the fins, and 
sometimes streaks of red running down through the olive of the 
belly ; while others are dark orange along the sides and belly, 
mottled with blue spots and streaks. Couch, in his ' British 
Fishes,' remarks on small Pollack being bright orange on the 
sides, caused by living in the shelter of the rocks clothed with 
sea-weeds. But this red colour can scarcely arise from this 
cause, seeing that three had a decided tinge of red when caught, 
and these were from the surface of the sea, not from the rocks. 
I have seen Pollack as much as seven pounds weight with 
a red tinge in the fins and red markings running down their 

A coating of transparent mucus envelopes the whole fish ; in 
summer it is reduced to a very thin film ; in winter it increases 
to more than the sixteenth of an inch in thickness, and no doubt 
protects the fish in cold weather. 

Diseases. — These seem to be very few in the Pollack. One 
form is the wasting of the liver, caused by the boring though it 
of the parasite, Filaria x>iscmm. Another disease is like that 
which is so common to the Cod, Bream, Mackerel, and Garfish, 
viz., curvature of the spine. Pollack afi'ected with this disease 
seldom reach five pounds in weight, while full-grown, well-fed fish 
have been known to attain to twenty-four pounds. 

Parasites. — Very few of these are found on the Pollack, 
probably from their living so near to suitable places for scraping 
them oS: the large close-standing stems of some of the olive sea- 
weeds and the projecting points of rock are admirably suited for 
this purpose. A very common expression with fisher-boys, when 
fishing for young Pollack near shore in clear water and expecting 
a bite, is, " Look out ! I saw a Pollack turn bright side up." The 
idea conveyed is that a Pollack is close by, and may be expected 
to take the bait ; and this turning " bright side up," which they 
often do, by scraping their backs along the weeds and rocks, 
is no doubt the act of raking off the parasites. I only know 
three parasites common to this species — the LepeojJtheirus ; the 
young of a sessile-eyed crustacean belonging to a species of 
Cirolana (the latter is also found in great numbers in the Red 


Mullet); and Filaria piscium, discoverable in the cavity of the 

Enemies. — Gulls and Guillemots destroy immense quantities 
of Pollack when very young— just after being hatched. When a 
month old they live on the surface of the sea, keeping close to all 
kinds of floating debris. At such times the sea-birds scarcely 
everleave]them. Porpoises also often attack them. It is nothing 
uncommon in clear water close to shore to see the Porpoises dart 
along the sides of the rocks and devour them. In the summer of 
1878, when the fishing-boat 'F. H.,' of Mevagissey, was passing 
over the high ledges off the Gribben Head, Cornwall, the crew 
saw a shoal of Porpoises attack a circle of large Pollack, killing 
scores of them. They tacked the boat, and took up quantities of 
large fish, the Porpoises having destroyed more than they could 
eat. Sometimes when going at full speed a Porpoise will seize a 
Pollack, and play with it as a cat will with a mouse, and by some 
power unknown to me throw it three or four feet out of the water 
forward, the next instant catching it again in its jaws. I have 
known this done four or five times in succession with a Pollack 
of about three pounds weight. A Porpoise will sometimes seize 
a large Pollack by the middle with his powerful jaws, and other 
Porpoises will swim around and eat the poor victim alive from 
the mouth of the holder. 

These savage creatures, no doubt, are the cause of the 
skulking habits of the Pollack, so annoying to the amateur 
fisherman ; for this fish when hooked will, if possible, rush away 
from his enemies in among the large sea-weeds, or into some 
sheltered hole in the rocky sea-bottom, so that the amateur with 
his fine gear is often unable to draw him out. Our fishermen, 
when after large Pollack, go in the day-time where the fish are 
circling. The crew consists of two men, each provided with sixty 
fathoms three-quarter pound lines, with snooding six feet long. 
One of these is used without a sinker, the other with it. The 
lines used in this way will cover a greater amount of ground than 
any other from a stationary boat, and thus enable the fishermen 
to correct any slight error made in anchoring on the circling 
ground, as it is impossible to be successful in fishing by day 
unless the baits go right into the circle. The baits should be 
Mackerel, Pilchards, Cuttles, or young Bream. 

A fisherman can always tell the kind of fish he has to his line 


by its actions on the hook. Every fish has its own peculiar 
action : thus tiie Pollack when hooked starts off at a sharp angle 
for the sea-bottom, and if prevented from reaching it, will then 
try to get away by force, and acts very much like a flying kite on 
being pulled to the ground. The fishermen call it " shearing 
about." After failing to free itself by this mode, it suddenly turns 
and darts towards the boat, at the same time disgorging the 
contents of its stomach by turning it inside out, hoping by these 
means to clear out the hook. 

For small Pollack the most successful mode of capture is 
" whiffing." This operation is carried on by two men ; one rowing 
a small boat about two miles an hour, the other attending to one 
or two lines towed without sinkers over the stern. The bait 
should be a thin slice cut from the tail of a Mackerel or Pil- 
chard ; worms from the sea-beach or small eels ; or artificial 
baits, as supplied by Hearder or Brooks, of Plymouth. The 
most successful "whiffer" I ever knew fished with an angling- 
rod over the quarter of the boat with the line weighted, the 
snooding entirely of catgut, and with artificial baits. Small fish 
are also often caught in trammels, ground-nets, and seines, when 
used for Mackerel and Red Mullet. Pollack a few months old 
will rise to the fly. 

Breeding. — In many fishes the procreative instinct is active 
some months before actual sj^awning commences, as in the 
Herring and Pilchard. This has been noted under two aspects. 
The first is extreme restlessness and change of locality, until a 
suitable spawning-ground is found. The second is a state of 
quietude, and only the taking of such food as will keep the body 
in its normal condition. These phases of life may be discerned 
in more than one species of fish. We can scarcely trace the 
former in the Pollack, but we believe we cau the latter. For 
although so active and voracious in autumn, but little is seen of 
them in February and March, although from long observation we 
are certain March is the general time of those fish spawning off 
our coasts. That they are then living not far from land may be 
concluded from the fact that they may be found only a few miles 
off the coast in April, thin and hungry ; while about the middle 
of the same month young Pollack, just escaped from the egg, 
may be seen on the surface of the sea, close to land. That 
the eggs float on the surface when shed seems probable, seeing 


that the liver of a full-grown Pollack is very large, and contains 
several ounces of oil, all of which escapes among the eggs at the 
time of spawning, and no doubt helps to float them. It is also a 
fact that the oil leaves the liver of all the fish of the species at 
the time of spawning. Like all the Gaclidce, the Pollack carries 
a large number of eggs. I have found as manj^ as four millions 
in the roe of a Pollack twelve pounds in weight. The time the 
eggs take to hatch cannot be stated with precision ; but taking 
the 15th of March as the average date of the parent spawning, 
I have often seen young Pollack of a half-inch in length from the 
15th to the 20th of April, which could not be more than from ten 
to fifteen days old. This will make the period of hatching from 
fourteen to eighteen days. 

On the matter of spawning and incubation of fishes there is 
much to be said. Scientists tell us that the spawning of Salmon 
in the British Isles continues from September to January, and 
that the Herring may be found breeding off our shores in every 
month of the year. But this statement requires qualification ; 
for although generally true, the facts do not apply to every coast, 
since each locality has its own especial time ; thus it will be 
found that Herrings are always in spawn off Plymouth about 
the first of January, whereas at Mevagissey the great Atlantic 
Herrings do not spawn until the 10th of March. Possibly future 
researches may show that on other coasts the Pollack may spawn 
at some different time. 

Growth. — On this subject I must refer to my specimens. 

No. 1 bottle contains several young Pollack, from a half- 
inch to an inch long. These were caught in Mevagissey Bay 
on May 4th, about fifty yards from land, on the surface of the 
sea, close to some floating sea-weeds. The colours are not 
yet diffused, but held in spots and stars; the fins white and 
transparent ; and no scales are found on them when under 
three-quarters of an inch in length. The largest are just an 
inch long, and two grains in weight. I estimate them to be 
about a month old. 

No. 2 contains young Pollack caught near the same place, 
close to the bottom of the sea, on June 8rd. Taking the average 
of two of the largest, it will give a Pollack one inch and three- 
quarters long and eleven grains in weight. It will now be observed 
that they have all their fins and colours perfect, and are fairly on 


the line of living as the parent fishes. These I estimate to be 
two months old. 

No. 3 contains young Pollack caught at the same place as 
above, on July 6th. The two largest give an average fish of 
three inches long and sixty grains in weight, and estimated at 
three months old. 

No. 4 contains young Pollack from the same place, caught 
on August 14th. These two give an average length of five 
inches, and 325 grains in weight, and are estimated to be four 
months old. 

No. 5 bottle has two young Pollack caught at Mevagissey on 
the 25th of September, 1884. Average five inches and six-eighths 
in length, and 362 grains in^weight. These are probably a little 
over five months old. 

I give these lengths and weights with the greatest confidence, 
knowing they represent the monthly growth of the first Pollack 
which reached the shores around Mevagissey for the year 1885, 
and also, with very little change, in the same months for ten years 
past. These little creatures are as familiar to me as barn-door 
fowls are to the farmer. The figures show the increase in four 
months to be one hundred times their original weight. 

I may here state that throughout my observations on these 
little fishes I have kept to those which first reach the shore, and 
these throughout the season, as a rule, are the largest. Some 
young Pollack do not float in for two or three weeks after the first, 
probably through contrary winds and tides, or later spawning ; 
hence these will be behind the earlier examples in growth and 
condition thi'oughout the season. Besides this there are the 
accidents of food, health, and other conditions, which keep some 
of the season's fish back to less than five inches in length up to 
November, and after this, like the Mackerel and Red Mullet, 
there is but little, if any, growth among the young Pollack until 
the following May. In further tracing their growth it will be seen 
that the summer is the time of their greatest development, and 
that some will reach maturity in the third and others in the 
fourth year of life. 

( 249 ) 



By the Right. Hon. Lokd Lilford. 

Owing to the circumstances mentioned in my last com- 
munication on Northamptonshire birds (Zool. 1886, p. 465), and 
my leaving Lilford for Bournemouth (whence I now write) shortly 
afterwards, the following notes are given entirely upon the 
authority of correspondents, of whose good faith in every 
instance, and accuracy of identification in the great majority 
of occurrences quoted, I have not the slightest doubt. 

October 8th, 1886. My brother saw tAvo Golden Plovers on 
an old pasture near Aldwinkle. I heard reports of this species 
being seen in our neighbourhood in the latter half of September, 
but the above is the first appearance this autumn, of which 
I feel quite certain. 

Oct. 15th. Four Teal were brought alive from our decoy, with 
twelve Wild Ducks. 

Oct. 28th. Eight Fieldfares seen at Biggin, near Oundle, 
and Grey Crows, — "now in abundance since N.E. wind," — at 
the same place, reported to me by my brother-in-law, Mr. T. H. 

Oct. 30. Donald Mackay, gamekeeper at Aldwinkle, writes 
that one of Lord Lyveden's keepers flushed two Woodcocks near 
Brigstock on Sept. 26th. 

November 1st. Colonel Irby wrote to me that he was assured 
by one of our game-watchers that he saw one of three Wild 
Ducks suddenly seized and taken under water by some invisible 
foe near Pilton Bridges, within a short distance from Lilford. 
I have no doubt that an Otter was the " secret agent" in this 

Nov. 5th. My falconer reported the sudden appearance about 
Lilford of a great number of Jays, the scarcity of which species 
till this date has been somewhat remarkable. 

Nov. 6th. Sir Eainald Knightley wrote to me, under this 
date, from Fawsley, near Daventry, as follows : — " Last year we 
had a Night Heron — at least it was exactly like the picture of 
that bird in Gould. It remained here nearly all the autumn, 


some two or three months, but left when the frost and snow 
came. But to my surprise, on my return from Scotland a few 
days ago, I found it (or anotlier bird exactly like it) here again. 
I do not know how long it has been here, as I have been away 
from home for about five weeks." {Gf. my note of July 13th, 
Zool. 1886, p. 468). Sir Rainald adds, " Crested Grebe, Podiceps 
cristattts, have nested here last year and this." 

Nov. 16th. I received a letter from Captain J. A. M. Vipan, 
of Stibbington Hall, near Wansford, in which he states, 
" Whilst out punting on the Wash, on October 28th, I killed a 
Eed-throated Diver with the red-throat patch. I also killed a 
Black-throated Diver on November 12th — the first I have ever 
seen on the Wash." 

In two letters, dated respectively Nov. 9th and 16th, Lieut. - 
Colonel G. Morgan, writing from his residence, Biddlesden Park, 
near Brackley, very kindly informed me that " The late Dr. Leith 
Adams once spent three days here. He was especially pleased 
with the Crested Tits, Parus cristatus, which we then had here, 
but I have not observed them for four or five years past." In the 
second letter he wrote, in reference to this species, " Curiously 
enough, my son saw one twice on Saturday last, and I believe 
I saw it myself on Sunday morning, but am not absolutely 
certain." Colonel Morgan's house stands in Buckinghamshire, 
close to the river Ouse, which there forms our county boundary, 
and as the post town (Brackley) is in Northamptonshire, I 
consider that I may fairly record this occurrence in these 

Nov. 14th. Thirty Wild Geese (sp. ?) seen flying over 
Achurch in an easterly direction. Bramblings seen at Ticli- 
marsh — first report of the species in our neighbourhood for 
this season. 

Nov. 17th. Twenty-two Teal out of twenty-nine, and eighteen 
Wild Ducks, out of about one hundred, were taken in our 

Nov. 18th. My falconer wrote under this date: — "I have 
seen eight Siskins and six Redpolls by the river (near Lilford) 
last week. These are not nearly so plentiful as they were 
last year." 

20th. A Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excuhitor, was picked 
up dead near Aldwinkle by Lieut. -Colonel Irby. My son, 


who was present at the finding of this bird, wrote, "It had 
doubtless been taken with bird-Hme, with which a twig close by 
was covered." This bird was sent for me to London to be 
preserved, and proved to be a young female. 

December 9th. I received a very handsome and peculiar 
female hybrid of Common Mallard, Anas hoschas, and A-ustralian 
Wild Duck, A. superciliosa, from our decoy. The upper plumage, 
crown of head, back of neck, back, wings, and tail closely 
resemble those of the Common Wild Duck, but the characteristic 
buff superciliary streak of the Australian is strongly developed, 
and the whole of the lower plumage from chin to tail are of a 
rich creamy buff colour. I sent this interesting variety to the 
Natural History Museum, South Kensington. I may mention 
that I have for many years kept some of the Australian Wild 
Ducks upon the aviary ponds at Lilford, and that many of our 
Wild Ducks show "a strain" of that blood, but the specimen 
above described is the first variety of the cross that has hitherto 
come to my hands. 

Dec. 30. Under this date my decoyman wrote : — " I caught 
seven Ducks on 29th, and left forty, and three Wigeon, in the 
decoy. There were three Eed-headed Dunbirds, Fuligulaferina, 
in the decoy on 24th." 

January 3rd, 1887. The Eev. W. Powys, Eector of Achurch, 
wrote, " I have just seen a Snow Bunting in my field." My 
falconer wrote : — " On December 27th a Peregrine Falcon soared 
over the courtyard for five minutes ; her attention was taken up 
with the Kites and Buzzards (in the home aviary) : she came 
within half gun-shot of me. I afterwards saw her chasing the 
Wild Ducks up and down the river." 

Jan. 3rd. The decoyman reported fifteen "Grey Geese" 
(sp. ?), near Aldwinkle. 

Jan. 5th. "Great flights of Sky Larks going southwards; 
snow seven or eight inches deep." — T. H. Burroughes, Biggin, 

Jan. 6th. Captain Vipan wrote to me from Sutton Bridge : — 
" My punter last Monday came across a tvliite Mallard in a 
bunch of about 100. To-day some thousands of Larks passed 
over the Wash ; all seemed very tired. There were also a 
good many Bramblings, one of which settled on my punter's 
head, fell off on to the floor of punt, and afterwards flew off; 


some that I noticed on the floating ice seemed very brilliant in 

Jan. 7th. Colonel Irby wrote from Wadenhoe, " I saw a 
Kedshank, Totanus calidris, on Wednesday." The Redshank 
visits our neighbourhood occasionally and irregularly, generally 
in August or September ; but I consider its appearance there at 
this time of year, and in such severe weather, as well worthy of 

Jan. 13th. A Waxwing, Amjjelis garrulus, seen at Stoke Doyle, 
near Oundle, and reported to me on excellent authority. 

Jan. 18th. My falconer wrote : — " About half-past four on 
the afternoon of 12th, when I went to take in the Goshawk from 
her block, I found her fighting with a Tawny Owl. I got hold of 
it at once, found that it was not much hurt, and placed it with 
the others (of the same species) in the Owl-house. I am glad to 
say it is quite well." 

Jan. 24th. The same man wrote :— " I have often seen 
Tawny Owls on wing about here this winter before dark, which 
I think is very unusual for these birds." 

February 1st. The decoy-man reported " quite 500 head of 
wildfowl— Ducks, Wigeon, Teal, and Pochards"— on our flooded 
meadows near Thrapston; the decoy impracticable from the 
depth of water and the floating ice. 

Feb. 17th. One of my gamekeepers wrote : — " I have found 
six Green Woodpeckers dead of starvation from hard frost and 
snow. More Wild Geese than usual flying over this winter; 
I saw twenty-nine on Jan. 13th, and several more lots of eight 
or nine, of which I have not got the date." 

March 16th. A young Puffin, Fratercula arctica, arrived 
alive at Lilford from the Rev. Sir F. Robinson, Bart., of Cranford, 
Kettering, who informed me that it was picked up near that 
place. This bird fed freely upon small fishes, and lived till 

April 2nd. 

March 17th. Heard of Stock Dove sitting on her eggs at 

Lilford on 18th inst. 

March 18th. The Hon. Thos. W. Fitzwilliam wrote :— " The 
Herons (at Milton, Peterborough) are about as numerous as 
usual, I think ; about ninety-three nests now, but I do not think 
that all have built yet." 

March 22nd. Chiffchaff first reported, by Colonel Irby. 


March 25th. A male Pintail, which had been for many days 
apparently paired with a Wild Duck on our decoy-pool, dis- 

March 26th. Tawny Owl's nest, with three eggs " hard set," 
found near Lilford. 

March 29th. Sand Martin first reported near Lilford. 
April 6th. My falconer wrote :— " Hearing that a strange 
bird had been shot at Winwick (about five miles from Lilford), 
on March 26th, I went over, and found it was a young female 
Peregrine. The shooter told me that he shot a Wood Pigeon, 
and before he had time to pick it up this hawk came from a 
great height, and was carrying her prize away when he shot, 
and slightly injured the first joint of her right wing. She looks 
well in health, and I think she will get all right in a short 
time." I purchased this Falcon, and heard from my man on 
April 13 th that he put her on the wing (in a creance) on the 
previous day, and that there did not appear to be " much 
wrong" in her flight. 

April 12th. Willow Wren first reported near Lilford. 
Mr. G. Hunt wrote to me from Wadenhoe :— " Towards the 
close of the proceedings (shooting Wood Pigeons over wooden 
decoy-birds), near Oundle Wood on 11th inst., a female Peregrine 
came flying high towards me, and seeing my lures, which were 
placed on a bare newly-sown field, made a terrific stoop at one 
of them, which was pegged firmly into the ground, and drove 
her hind claw into the neck of the dummy, knocked it some five 
yards off its peg, and then flew straight away, and I could see 
something was hanging from under her tail, and suspect she 
broke her foot with the violence of the collision. This was an 
old blue Falcon. I never in all my experience in ' coying' had 
a similar thing occur. On Easter Sunday I found a nest con- 
taining two young Stock Doves almost ready to fly; on the 
previous day I had seen some of this species in flocks— evidently 

April 14th. A nest of the Barn Owl near Lilford contained 
four eggs. My decoy-man, who is an East Anglian, and ought 
to know the birds below mentioned well, wrote : — " I saw twenty 
Dotterel, Eudromias morinellus, on the 13th and three on the 
14th April." This is the first well-authenticated occurrence of 
the Dotterel in Northamptonshire that has come to my know- 


ledge, the only previous one being a somewhat hazy report of 
a bird of this species having killed itself against the telegraph- 
wires on the L. & N.W. Kailway, near Thorpe, aboiat forty 
years ago. 

April 16th. My falconer wrote : — " I have ten young Wild 
Ducks hatched off on the 2nd, and since then two more sittings, 
all doing well. I heard young Eooks in the nests last evening, 
for the j5rst time this year." 

By Uno von Troil, D.D. 

[On taking up lately a somewhat scarce little volume entitled 'Letters 
on Iceland,' containing observations made during a voyage in 1772, by 
Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander, Dr. Lind, and Dr. von Troil, we were 
struck by the remarks therein contained on the mammals and birds of 
Iceland, some of which, although written more than a century ago, are still 
of much interest at the present day. The alleged existence of the Wild 
Cat (doubtless a mistake), the herbivorous habits of the Fox, the intro- 
duction of the Reindeer from Norway in 1770, the breeding of the Wild 
Swan and the " Eider-bird," and the annual exportation of Eider-down, and 
of Iceland Falcons purchased by royal falconers, are matters on which some 
of our readers may be glad to have information. We accordingly give the 
following extract (pp. 140—147, ed. 1780) for their benefit. The " Letter " 
from which it is copied is addressed to Chevalier Ihre, and is dated 
" Stockholm, Oct. 3, 1774."— Ed.] 

Besides these [domesticated] animals, they have three kinds 
of dogs in Iceland, Jiar hundar, or Iwmbar, shag dogs ; and 
dyrhundar and dv erg hundar. As also tame and wild cats, which 
last are called tirdarkettir ; rats, white and brown foxes, some of 
which eat grass, and are on that account called gras tofur. To 
root out these animals, the king has set a premium of a rix- 
dollar upon every ten fox- skins that are sold to a merchant. 
The natives have likewise made an agreement, that whosoever 
destroys a fox's hole, together with the fox, the she fox, and their 
young, is to receive one rix-dollar, which the neighbours collect 
among themselves. 

Eeindeer were not known here formerly; but by Governor 
Thodal's order thirteen heads were sent from Norway in 1770, 


by Mr. Perenson, merchant, ten of which died before they 
reached Iceland, for want of proper care ; the three remaining 
ones thrive extremely well, and had calved three times before we 
came there ; they do not want for food, as the country abounds 
with moss. 

After having treated of their fishery and the breed of their 
cattle, I think this a very proper place to say something of their 
birds, which, particularly in regard to those of the aquatic kind, 
are very important to them. 

They are found in great abundance everywhere on the coast ; 
but the greatest number by far are caught in the few places 
where they breed. The eggs the Icelanders make use of them- 
selves, as likewise the flesh, which is eaten by a great many of 
them ; but with the feathers and down they carry on a very 
considerable trade. 

It would be unnecessary to mention all the different sorts of 
birds, especially as there is scarcely any country where so many 
kinds, and such great numbers of them, are to be met with as in 
Iceland. Among the great abundance of geese, water-fowls, 
ducks, &c., &c., I will, however, say something of the Swan and 

It is known that the Swan belongs to the class of birds of 
passage ; their numbers increase very much towards winter, 
though there is no scarcity of them at any time, as the greater 
part of the young breed constantly remain there. In spring we 
may often see an hundred of them in a flock, and frequently 
man}' more ; and it is then thought that part of them advance 
yet further to the north, and make but a very short stay in 
Iceland. During the summer they resort to the lakes ; but when 
winter approaches, and these begin to freeze, they remove to the 
sea-shores. Their eggs are gathered in the beginning of spring, 
which are large, and said to be very palatable. In August, when 
they lose their feathers, they are hunted on the lakes, where 
they are to be found at that time, with dogs trained to catch 
them alive. They are said to sing very harmoniously in the 
cold dark winter nights ; but though it was in the month of 
September when I was upon the island, I never once enjoyed 
the pleasure of a single song. An old Swan has a fishy 
taste, but the young ones are reckoned among the best eatable 


The Eider-bird is yet more useful to the natives, who 
consider it as a kind of treasure ; and it is seldom heard that 
a prudent house-keeper shoots or kills any of them. 

The Eider-birds generally build their nests on little islands 
not far from the shore, and sometimes even near the dwellings 
of the natives, who treat them with so much kindness and 
circumspection as to make them quite tame. In the beginning 
of June they lay five or six eggs, and it is not unusual to find 
from ten to sixteen eggs in one nest together, with two females, 
who agree remarkably well together. The whole time of laying 
continues six or seven weeks, and they are fond of laying three 
times in different places; in the two first both the eggs and 
down are taken away, but in the last place this is seldom done. 
Those to whom one of these places belong visit it at least once 
a week. 

When they come to the nest, they first carefully remove the 
female, and then take away the superfluous down and eggs, after 
which they replace the female on the remaining ones, when she 
begins to lay afresh, and covers her eggs with new down which 
she has plucked from herself : when she has no more down left, 
the male comes to her assistance, and covers the eggs with his 
down, which is white, and easily distinguished from the female's ; 
where it is left till the young ones are hatched, who in an hour 
afterwards quit the nest together with the mother, when it is 
once more plundered. 

The best down and the most eggs are got during the first of 
their laying ; and it has in general been observed that they lay 
the greatest number of eggs in rainy weather. As long as the 
female sits, the male is on the watch near the shore ; but as 
soon as the young are hatched he leaves them. But the mother 
remains with them a considerable time after ; and it is curious 
to see how she leads them out of the nest as soon as they creep 
out of the eggs, and goes before them to the shore, whilst they 
trip after her : when she comes to the water side she takes them 
on her back, and swims with them for the space of a few yards, 
when she dives, and the young ones, who are left floating on the 
water, are obhged to take care of themselves. [This mode of 
carrying the young to the water is adopted by the Razorbill, 
Guillemot, and other cliff-haunting birds, and it is remarkable 
that the Eider Duck should pursue a similar plan, instead of 


imitating other ducks, -which, as a rule, lead their young to the 
edge of the water, and, entering it before them, encourage them 
to follow in their wake. It may be observed, however, that 
when a Wild Duck, Anas hoschas, nests, as not unfrequently 
happens, at a height from the ground (as, for example, in a 
pollard or on the top of a stack), she carries down her young 
when hatched either on her back between the uplifted wings, or 
else in her bill. — Ed.] One seldom sees these birds on land 
afterwards, for they generally live on the damp rocks in the sea, 
and feed on insects and sea-weeds. 

One female, during the whole time of laying, generally gives 
half a pound of down, which is, however, reduced to one half 
after it is cleansed. The down is divided into thong-dmin (sea- 
weed down) and gras-dimn (grass-down). The last sort is thought 
to be the best, and is cleansed in the following manner : — some 
yarn is streaked in a square compartment round a hoop, on which 
the down is laid. A pointed piece of wood is then moved back- 
wards and forwards on the lower side of the yarn thus streaked, 
which causes the coarser feathers to fall through, while the fine 
down remains on the yarn. 

Down plucked from dead Eider-birds is of little worth, 
because it has then lost the greatest part of its elasticity; 
for this reason it is of little value in Iceland. The other sort is 
sold at forty-five fish a pound when cleansed, and at sixteen fish 
when not cleansed. There are generally exported every year 
on the Company's account 1500 or 2000 pounds of down, 
cleansed and not cleansed, exclusive of what is privately 
exported by foreigners. In the year 1750 the Iceland Com- 
pany sold as much in quantity of this article as amounted 
to 3745 banco-dollars, besides what was sent directly to 

Among the land-birds that are eatable. Ptarmigans are not 
to be forgotten, and are caught in great numbers. Falcons, 
also, abound in the island, of which there are three sorts : they 
are purchased by the royal falconers, who give fifteen dollars 
a-piece for the white, ten for those that are darker, and seven 
for the grey. 





By Leonhard Stejneger.* 

The fact of the Ptarmigans shedding their claws regularly 
every summer seems not to have been observed personally by 
any of the many excellent American ornithologists, and has 
therefore been comparatively little known to them. It may 
consequently not be without interest to demonstrate this process, 
as I have material at hand which shows the procedure very 

The late Prof. Sven Nilsson, the famous Swedish zoologist, 
was the first to discover this peculiarity in the Ptarmigans. His 
countryman, Prof. W, Meves, afterwards confirmed his observa- 
.tions, and at the same time proved that this singular shedding 
of the claws also occurs in other birds of the family Tetraonidce, 
as, for instance, in both sexes of Bonasa honasia, Urogallus 
urogallus, and also, in the female at least, of Tetrao tetrix. 

As will be seen in the specimens of the Lagopus ridgioayi 
(a new species which I was fortunate enough to detect on the 
Commander Islands, near Kamtschatka), shot in June and 
August, before shedding, the middle claw measures 18 — 20 mm., 
while in a specimen shot on the 2.3rd of August, and which has 
just thrown the old ones off, the length of the new claw is only 
li mm. More instructive still is a male, shot on the same day, 
as it has the claws only partially shed. The old claws have 
become loosened from their base, and are forced 2 — 3 mm. out, 
still covering the tip of the new ones, except on two toes, from 
which they have already dropped oil. Hence it is obvious that 
the process is not a pathological one, in which the nail drops 
off as soon as it is perfectly separated from its bed, and has 
ceased to receive nourishment through the blood-vessels. 

Most conclusive, however, is a specimen of a quite difi"erent 
species, Lagopus albus, a specimen collected by Dr. Bean, on 
Unga, one of the Shumagin Islands, Alaska. About this speci- 
men Dr. Bean remarks, in his " Notes on Birds collected in 
Alaska," &c., in the Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 1882 (p. 163), as 

- Reprinted from ' The American Natm-alist,' vol. xviii. pp. 774 — 776 


follows :— " This specimen (shot on July 31st) corresponds very 
closel}^ in most respects with number 33,548, a female from 
Norway, collected July 2nd, 1862 ; the claws, however, are con- 
siderably shorter than in the Norway example, and in all other 
specimens of albus in the Museum." Dr. Bean was kind enough 
to show me the specimen, when it was apparent that the extreme 
shortness of the claws was due to the fact that the bird had shed 
them just before it was shot, except on the right outer toe, on 
which the nail was so loose, however, that it dropped off, as I was 
a little too rough in handling it. 

It will thus be seen that the shedding takes place in July or 
August, according to locality and other circumstances, at the 
time when the toes are most denuded — in fact, almost wholly 
naked — and the dark summer plumage is most complete. The 
claws grow very rapidly, however, and reach their full length 
long before the white winter plumage with the densely clothed 
toes is fully developed. 

So far as is known, this process is confined to the members 
of the family of Tetraonidce, mentioned above, when in the wild 
state, but Collett, in Ohristiania, has mentioned a case where a 
Quail, Coturnix communis, shed its claws in confinement, but this 
may have been due to some pathological process. 

I am not aware that this peculiarity has been observed in any 
of the American Tetraonidce, except Lagojnis albus, but there 
seems to be no reason why it should not occur, at least in species 
living under conditions similar to those in Northern Europe and 
North-Eastern Asia. It is to be expected that we will soon 
hear of instances from this Nearctic Region also, when attention 
has once been directed to it. 

No histological investigation has been made to ascertain the 
causes and the development of this unusual process (at least 
I am not aware that any results of such an investigation have 
ever been published), and consequently nothing is definitely 

As to the use which the birds derive from this extraordinary 
elongation of the claws, I shall only quote Prof. Meves. He 
wrote in 1871 [Ofr. Sv. Vet. Acad. Forhandl. 1871, p. 772] as 
follows : — " They (Lagopus and Tetrao) have, all through the 
winter, to struggle with the snow upon which they are forced to 
walk. The snow is often loose, and with a foot like that of the 


common fowl they would need much greater exertion of their 
strength in order to keep themselves on the surface. But as the 
Ptarmigan, by having the underside of the toes thickly coated 
with feathers, which can be spread out, and by means of the long 
and straight claws, — which may be compared with snow-shoes, — 
are enabled to run easily over the snow, the usefulness and the 
necessity of the lengthening of the nails is self-evident. In the 
genus Tetrao (= Urogallus + Lyurus + Bonasa) the lateral horny 
fringes of the toes render the same excellent service, and may 
fitly be regarded as a kind of snow-shoes. During the summer 
this ivhole outfit becomes superjiuous, which may be the main 
cause of the periodical shedding." It may in this connection be 
mentioned that the horny fringes in Tetraones, and the thick 
feathers of the toes in Lagopodes, also moult during the summer, 
at which time the toes of the latter are almost wholly denuded 
of feathers. 



Northern limit of the range of the Noctule in Great Britain. — 
In 'The Zoologist ' for May (p. 170) attention was directed to the statement 
in Bell's ' British Quadrupeds ' (2nd ed. 1874, p. 23) that the northernmost 
locality from which specimens of Vesperugo noctula have been received is 
Northallerton in Yorkshire, and it was suggested that the species named 
V. serotinus by Messrs. Mennell and Perkins in their ' Catalogue of the 
Mammalia of Northumberland and Durham ' was more likely to be 
V. noctula. The specimen iu question has been fortunately preserved in 
the Newcastle Museum, and both Mr. W. D. Roebuck and Mr. T. South- 
well, who have examined it, agree in considering it to be undoubtedly 
V. noctula. The range of this species northward is therefore considerably 
extended beyond the limit assigned to it by Bell, and its occurrence in 
Durham, where the specimen in question was procured, has since been 
confirmed by the capture of another example in the same county, as 
reported by Mr. T. H. Nelson. Writing on this subject so recently as the 
12th May last, Mr. Roebuck says: — " Referring to your remarks at p. 170 
of ' The Zoologist ' for May, I may mention that when in Newcastle in 
November, 1884, I was careful to examine the specimen which Mennell 
and Perkins recorded as V. serotinus in their ' Catalogue of the Mammalia 
of Northumberland and Durham,' and I came to the conclusion that it was 


a Noctule, although the specimen had lost its colour and was much 
bleached. This view was apparently shared by Mr. Howse, the Curator of 
the Museum, and I believe also by Mr. Southwell, who drew ray attention 
to the existence of the specimen, on hearing that I was about to visit 
Newcastle. I recorded my observations in ' The Naturalist ' for April, 
1885 (p. 202). It was taken in 1836 at Mr. Swinburne's house, between 
Harton and Cleadon, in Durham county, not far from Newcastle-on-Tyne. 
This occurrence is of interest as being the most northerly record for the 
Noctule, a species which is generally distributed and not uncommon in 
Yorkshire." Mr. Koebuck's remarks in ' The Naturalist ' for 1885 (p. 202), 
to which allusion has been made, are as follow : — " In the Newcastle 
Museum there is a specimen of a Bat which was taken in the year 1836, 
at Mr. Swinburne's house, between Harton and Cleadon, in the county of 
Durham, and not far from Newcastle. It was recorded among the donations 
to the Museum as the Serotine, 'A species of Bat (Vespertlllo serotinus), 
taken near Cleadon; Mr. A. Swinburne, 1836' (Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc, 
4to, vol. ii.) It also figures as the Serotine in Messrs. Mennell and 
Perkins's 'Catalogue of the Mammalia of Northumberland and Durham.' 
The identification is, however, incorrect. Mr. Thomas Southwell, of 
Norwich, visited the Museum last year, and, after such inspection as can 
be given to a specimen in a closed glass case, considered it to be in all 
probability a Noctule (Vesperugo noctula). He wrote me to this effect in 
September. When, therefore, I visited Newcastle some weeks after, I was 
sufficiently interested to make inquiries on the subject, and found that 
Mr. Kichard Howse, the Curator, had investigated the subject, and shared 
Mr. Southwell's view. He also showed me the specimen, and, after 
examination, I fully coincided in their opinion. The specimen is old and 
much bleached from exposure to light, but it seems to present all the 
external structural characters of the Noctule. The settlement of the 
correct name of the specimen is of interest from a geographical point of 
view from its being a northward extension of the range of the Noctule, 
which has not before been satisfactorily recorded for any locality north of 
the River Tees. Why it should not occur — and commonly, too — in the 
county of Durham is an enigma, for it is not only widely diffused through- 
out Yorkshire, but is a common species in that county." In a subsequent 
communication to the same periodical ('Naturalist,' 1886, p. 113), Mr. 
Roebuck remarked : — " The following item from the ' Durham County 
Advertiser,' February 26th, 1886, evidently refers to Vesperugo noctula, 
and is therefore of interest in view of the fact that Durham county forms 
the northernmost limit of its range. In the Duke of Cleveland's timber- 
yard in Winston Lane, near Barnard Castle, squeaks were heard while a 
workman was cross-cutting the trunk of a large oak near the roots. On 
the crevice being opened twenty-five ' rat bats ' were found in a cluster. 


The species is the largest known in this country. These measured, from 
tip to tip of the wings, from eight to ten inches, and the only sign of life 
was the exhibition of formidable teeth. Put into a cage and warmed they 
became animated, and were set at liberty." Supplementary to this notice, 
Mr. T. H. Nelson added the statement (to7n. cit. p. 173) that Mr. C. E. 
Morgan, of the Flats, near Bishop Auckland, shot a Noctule while flying 
over the pond at the Flats during the summer of 18B5. It remains to be 
ascertained whether any confirmation can be obtained of the reported 
occurrence of this species in Scotland. — J. E. Harting. 

Food of the Greater Horse-shoe Bat.— I send you some wings of 
Lepidoptera for identification from " the larder" of tlie Greater Horse-shoe 
Bat. The insects must have been captured on the wing or snatched off 
the leaves of trees (as is the habit of the Long-eared Bat), and after being 
carried to the captor's retreat (a cave near Tavistock) the wings, on 
being bitten off, fell to the ground, where they were picked up. — A. H. 
Macphkrson (13, Kensington Gardens Square, W.). 

[We have counted thirty-six wings belonging to four species of moth, 
namely, the Common Yellow Underwing, Trlplicena pronuba, the Broad- 
bordered Yellow Underwing, TriphcBim fimbria, the Pearly Underwing, 
Agrotis saucia, and the Herald Moth, Scoliapteryx Ubatrix. It seems a 
little curious that such large insects should be taken by so small a mouth, 
but the wings being clipped off, the bodies no doubt would be easily 
disposed of. — Ed.] 

Small Rorqual at Plymouth. — On May 16th a young female Lesser 
Rorqual, BalcBnoptera rostrata (Fabricius), was exhibited by some fishermen 
about the streets of Plymouth in a cart. It had been taken entangled in a 
mackerel drift-net by the Lowestoft fishing-smack ' Blue Bell' the previous 
week. The following are some of its dimensions : — Total length, from 
centre of tail to point of upper jaw around curve, 12 ft. 7i in. ; the mouth 
was propped open, but the men said the lower jaw projected four or five 
inches beyond the upper when closed, making it then fully 13 feet long ; 
len'^th of gape, 3 ft. 1 in. ; width across mouth at gape, 1 ft. 9 in. ; length 
of eyelids, 3 in., the eye being placed just above tlie angle of the gape; 
from point of snout to insertion of flipper, 3 ft. 4 in. ; length of flipper, 
1 It. 10 in. ; width of ditto, 6 in. ; from point of snout to insertion of dorsal 
fin, (5 ft. 4 in. ; width of dorsal fin, 8 in. ; length of ditto, 8 in. ; width of 
caudal fin, 3 ft. 1 in. ; blowholes, two longitudinal slits 4 inches long and 
close together, situated at 1 ft. 8 in. from point of snout. The whalebone 
was only a few inches long, of a pale flesh-colour, fringed with whitisli hair. 
The flippers were traversed by the white band which is distinctive of this 
species. The weight was estimated at 17 cwt. I have secured the skull 
and cervical vertebrae for the Museum of the Plymouth Institution. The 


butcher who cut it up said that the gullet was not larger than that of a 
calf, and far too small to swallow a mackerel. — F. H. Balkwill (3, Prince's 
Square, Plymouth). 


A Puffin in London.— On May 20th I received the skin of a Puffin, 
Fratercula arctica, which, strange to say, flew into one of the bedrooms of 
the house No. 45, Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, on the 16th of that 
month. It was alive when found, and the owner of the house, Sir John 
Walrond, Bart., had it killed, and presented it to a lady, who kindly 
forwarded it to me. It is curious that I rented this very house in the 
winters of 1884-5 and 1885-6, and no more distinguished visitor than a 
stray House Sparrow ever favoured me with a visit there. — Lilford. 

[From the nature of its haunts, and its strictly oceanic habits, the 
Puffin is one of the last birds one would expect to meet with in the 
Metropolitan county. Graves, in vol. ii. of his 'British Ornithology,' 
mentions the capture of a Puffin on the Thames, near Chelsea, in 1812, 
remarkinfT: — " We are at a loss to conceive by what unaccountable accident 
this bird should have wandered so far from tlie coast, as the nearest place 
to which the species is known to resort is the cliffs at Dover."— Ed.] 

Puffin on the Thames in July.— I have in my collection a specimen of 
the Puffin, Fratercula arctica, which was shot on the Thames between 
Erith and Gravesend on June 12th, 1885. The beak of the bird is very 
abnormally shaped. — Riley Fortune (Harrogate). 

[See an article on the moult of the bill in the Puffin, published in ' The 
Zoologist' for July, 1878.— Ed.] 

The Missel Thrush occasionally a Bird of Prey.— During the dry 
weather which prevailed this spring, with easterly winds, I one day saw a 
Missel Thrush fly up to the nest of a common Song Thrush, take out a 
young one and carry it off to her own nest and feed her young ones with it. 
How she broke it up I could not see, but she appeared to be pecking it to 
pieces; and she continued her visits to the Song Thrush's nest until she 
had carried off every one of the four young birds which it contained. The 
old Song Thrushes made a great outcry while this was going on, which 
attracted my attention to the spot. I may add that the young Missel 
Thrushes were nearly fledged, and the young Song Thrushes only just 
hatched.— E. A. Sanford (Nynehead Court, Wellington, Somerset). 

Kestrel and Slow-worm.— My keeper's attention was recently directed 
to a small patch of gorse by a Blackbird's cry of alarm announcing 
the vicinity of some foe. He cautiously approached the spot, and 
found himself within a couple of yards of a male Kestrel in the act of 
dealing deadly blows upon the head and neck of a slow-worm, whose 
detached tail was wriggling about on the grass a few inches off, in contrast 


to the body, which lay distended and motionless. The Kestrel was unaware 
of the keeper's presence until after an interval of some minutes, which gave 
him tlie opportunity of leisurely witnessing the scene. So precipitate was 
this bird's flight when it eyed the keeper that it did not give itself time to 
snatch up either the body or the tail-end of the Slow-worm, but went away 
empty-clawed. Such precaution was needless, as all winged "vermin" 
(Sparrowhawks excepted) enjoy full immunity here. They are all allowed 
to live and multiply. I sent for the remains on the day following, and on 
examination I found the upper parts of the liead and neck had four deep 
wounds, each of which was sufficient to cause death. The broken extremity 
showed no marks of violence. It is possible the occurrence may have 
taken place through the natural contraction of the muscles and body, as 
occasionally happens, and from which habit it obtains the specific name 
of frag ills. The tail end, which the keeper was unable to find, had been 
taken away possibly by the Kestrel, which had a nest in the neighbouring 
covert. The length of the Slow-worm was thirteen inches. — J. C. Mansel- 
Pleydell (Whatcombe, Blandford). 

Nesting of the Marsh Warbler in Gloucestershire. — After the 
repeated occurrence of the Marsh Warbler [Acrocephaliis 2^ahistrls) at 
Taunton and at Bath, it is not surprising that it should turn up a little 
further north ; and I have the pleasure of recording its nesting near 
Cirencester, in this county. The bird itself has not been noticed, but a 
nest was found about the middle of June, 1880. The finder was a son of 
Mr. Henry Plummer, farmer, of Liddington, near Cirencester, who cut out 
the nest, which contained five eggs. Working alone and without books on 
the subject, he had no idea of the prize he had found, until my attention 
was drawn to it recently. Two of the five eggs were sent me for com- 
parison, and are of the common type of Marsh Warblers ; indeed, but for 
the difference before blowing, I could hardly have picked them out again if 
once mixed with my stock of continental specimens. I have since 
visited the spot where they were taken, seen the other three eggs, and 
obtained the nest, which Mr. Plummer kindly gave me. It is about four 
inches in diameter externally, and barely three inches deep ; the cup two 
inches in diameter, by one inch and three-eighths deep. It is composed 
almost entirely of fine roots and grass, with a few hairs in the lining, and 
one or two bits of wool and dead leaves outside. It was situated about 
three feet from the ground, and partly suspended from the lower shoots of 
a small elder bush and the undergrowth around it. This elder bush is one 
of several stunted bushes scattered through a long narrow withey bed on 
the bank of the Thames and Severn Canal. When I visited the spot a 
week ago, my companion found in close proximity a Reed Warbler's nest 
just completed, and a Reed Bunting's, containing four fresh eggs. The 
immediate neighbourhood I should consider highly suited to the species. 


on one side being the almost disused Thames and Severn Canal, and, a few 
hundred yards off, the Thames, here a mere brook, having its source at 
Seven Springs, near Cheltenham, some fifteen miles to the north. The 
space between canal and brook is almost entirely occupied by meadows, 
with irrigation-ditches running over their surface. It may save trouble 
and disappointment if I state here that the above eggs are not for disposal. 
Mr. Plummer naturally desires to keep the three he has; the other two 
were given by him to Mr. Alfred Archibald, of Cirencester, tlu'ough whose 
kind offices I was made aware of this interesting addition to our county 
avifauna. — H. W. Marsden (37, Midland Road, Gloucester). 

Unusual Nesting-site for the Tree Sparrow. — On May 24th, whilst 
examining some exposed mole-burrows (many of which had been deepened 
or adopted by Sand Martins), in a brick-earth cutting at Kemsley, near 
Sheppy, I observed proofs that one of the larger holes had been taken pos- 
session of by some birds; in fact, at my approach a Tree Sparrow flew out 
almost in ray face : on digging away the surface of the earth I exposed a 
nest lined with white feathers, and containing six perfectly typical eggs. 
It is well known that Tree Sparrows in this country usually select pollard 
willows as nesting sites, the nest being frequently placed in a hole between 
the young branches of the partly-decayed trunk ; I have also found the nest 
in a hole in a large dead branch which had been cut off near to the trunk. 
— A. G. BuTLEK (Natural History Museum). 

Hawfinch nesting in Surrey. — On May 30th a nest of the Hawfinch 
{Coccothraustes vulgaris) containing eggs was found in the Leith Hill district 
of Surrey; the exact locality perhaps it is unnecessary to mention. The 
nest was built in the fork of an apple tree, about ten feet from the ground. 
Another nest of this bird was found here last year, but I am afraid it was 
robbed. ^Dayid J. Kick (Coldharbour, near Dorking). 

The "Grouse Disease." — Having lately had the opportunity of 
examining several dead grouse which were said to have died of the " grouse 
disease," I have been led to certain reflections which may possibly be of 
interest to your readers. I may divide the grouse fully examined into 
three groups : — (a). Two specimens examined on the 30th of last Septem- 
ber, which were found dead on a moor in Yorkshire. These specimens 
were fairly nourished, exhibited no sign of disease, and had apparently no 
other parasite than the common tapeworm ; the organs of these worms gave 
no indication of the cause of death, (b). One of several specimens sent 
from Ayrshire was particularly examined ; in fair plumage, without marked 
signs of starvation, and with a well-tilled crop, this bird showed an inflam- 
mation of the walls of the intestine of so marked a character, that — as 
I wrote to the Editor of ' Laud and Water,' from whom I received the 
specimen — tiie cause of its death should be the study of a professed 


pathologist; tapeworms were again found in the intestine, (c). A grouse 
received on May 24th from Sir W. Wallace, on whose moors the deaths have 
been terribly numerous, was in an extreme state of emaciation ; its crop con- 
tained but three tops of heather, its liver was congested, and the contents of 
the intestine particularly fluid; tapeworms were present in rather stronger 
force than usual, and in the caeca I found the threadworm which was regarded 
by Dr. Spencer Gobbold as the cause of " grouse disease." Of a, then, it 
can only be said that they were dead ; of b, that it was suffering from 
inflammation of the intestines ; and of c, that it was starved, and contained 
Cobbold's worm. If, then, all three grouse died of " grouse disease," grouse 
disease must kill in at least three ditferent ways, or under the term " grouse 
disease" more than one affection is included. The latter would appear to be 
the more reasonable supposition, and in that case it may be pointed out that 
the first thing to be done is to define much more strictly than has been done 
in the past what is meant by "grouse disease"; of all these birds, strict 
accuracy forbids our saying more than " they were dead." I have, however, 
been told more than once that there is a certain external diagnostic sign of 
the disease, and that is the loss of feathers from the feet ; on that I should 
like to make two remarks. One follows the natural history of the group, 
and may be most briefly expressed in the words of Dr. Stejneger ('American 
Naturalist,' 1884, p. 776), " the thick feathers of the toes in Lagopodes 
also moult during the summer, at which time the toes of the latter are 
almost wholly denuded of feathers." [The article here quoted is of such 
interest to ornithologists that we have thought well to reprint it in the 
present number. — Ed.] The other remark is, that a Ptarmigan, in which 
the denudation of feathers on the feet has gone on to a considerable extent, 
was examined by me this morning, and was found to be perfectly healthy, 
well-nourished, and free from helminth parasites. I conclude, therefore, 
that the loss of feathers from tlie feet is not, at this season of the year, to 
be taken as a diagnostic sign of any diseased condition of the bird. I cannot 
avoid the conclusion that the birds examined by me did not in any case 
primarily owe their death to helminth parasites ; examination on the spot 
will best decide whether microbes play a part in the aetiology of the 
disease or diseases which are now causing such havoc in S.W. Scotland. — 
F. Jeffrey Bell. 

Hybrid Greenfinches. ^Three more hybrid Greenfinches, in addition 
to those already recorded (Zool. 1888, p. 879], are worth mentioning, as 
proving the frequency with which this hybridism takes place in a wild 
state. The first of these was caught at Yarmouth in 1882, and may be 
seen stuffed and cased in the house of one of the birdcatchers there. It was 
noticed by Mr. G. Smith soon after being taken, and he agrees with me in 
considering that it is a hybrid between a Linnet and a Greenfinch, closely 
resembling Mr. Stevenson's hybrid (Zool. I.e.) of similar origin. The 


second was sent alive to my father on the 15th November last from 
Cambridge, by Mr. F. Daggett, who states that he is quite familiar with 
this kind of hybrid from having obtained similar examples. This bird 
seems to be a male, Hke the Yarmouth one ; it has the Linnet's head, but 
with rather a stouter beak than a Linnet; the colour of the head and neck 
is like a Linnet's, but the wings and tail are more like those of a 
Greenfinch. It is slightly darker than Mr. Stevenson's bird, and of rather 
a stouter build. The third specimen, which is also apparently a male, was 
caught with some Siskins at Taverham, neai Norwich, on the 15th 
December last. It is a much yellower and more slender bird than the 
Cambridgeshire example, and in fact shows no colouring which can with 
certainty be assigned to the Linnet. In the opinion of its owner it is a 
hybrid between a Greenfinch and a Siskin. An instance of such a hybrid 
in captivity has been reported by the Rev. H. A. Macpherson (Zool. 1883, 
p. 339). I hesitate to express an opinion about it, but incline to think it is 
what the owner supposes. It must be borne in mind that the colour of the 
plumage in hybrids is not always a certain indication of parentage; this has 
been proved more than once in the case of hybrids bred in confinement, 
whose parents were known ; but as the bird in question was caught with 
some Siskins there seems nothing improbable in the assumption that a 
Siskin was one of its parents. That the other parent was a Greenfinch is 
evident. I may add, for the benefit of those interested in Hybrid Finches, 
that a paper on the subject bj' Mr. Macpherson will appear in the forthcoming 
number of the ' Transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' 
Society,' in which every cross known to have bred in confinement will be 
noticed, with other particulars. — J. H. Gurney, Jun. (Keswick Hall, 

Plover's Nests with five Eggs, — Plovers' nests containing five eggs 
are of suflicieutly rare occurrence to be noticed, and amongst the large 
number of nests I have come across I have only found two with more than 
four eggs. One last year had five, all of which were of the same ground- 
colour, and the markings were so much alike that I am perfectly satisfied 
they were all laid by the same bird ; tlie fifth egg was smaller than the 
others. Last week I found a second nest containing five eggs, four of 
which were long-shaped ones, rich dark cream-colour, with large dark 
blotches; the filth was pear-shaped, very thick at the larger end, and with 
a paler ground colour and small spots. This egg was no doubt (as often 
happens) laid by a different bird. — J. Whitakeu (Rainworth Lodge, near 

Jackdaw taking possession of Magpie's Nest,— -('n May 9th, whilst 
walking through a wood, I taw a Jackdaw leave what appeared to be a 
newly-built Magpie's nest, at the top of a tall larch-fir. Having ascended 


the tree I found four eggs of the Jackdaw in the nest, which had evidently 
been built by Magpies this spring. The Jackdaws had much enlarged the 
hole in the roof, and had lined the nest according to their own ideas. 
About half a mile away another pair of Magpies have been ejected by a pair 
of Kestrels: this happened before the nest was completed. — E. W. H. 
Blagg (Cheadle, Staffordshire). 

Thrush's Nest without the usual Lining.— When birdnest^ng last 
week I found three Thrush's nests lined with grass instead of rotten wood ; 
they all contained eggs, and were well made and much thicker than usual. 
I have seen many hundreds of Thrush's nests, but never one lilve these. 
If they had been on a moor, or in a town garden where rotten wood was 
scarce, I should not have been so much surprised, but they were in a wood 
of eight hundred acres, where abundance of the usual lining-material might 
be found. — J. Whitaker (Rainworth, near Mansfield). 

Habits of Rooks. — In 1885 my brother, Mr. J. S. B. Borough, reared 
a young Rook, which had fallen or been blown from a nest in the rookery 
in the park here. The freedom of this bird had never been in any way 
interfered with, but he is very tame with the few persons with whom he is 
on intimate terms, and rarely has missed coming daily to be fed in the 
outhouse in which he was reared. Last year we had every reason to 
believe that he nested and had a nest in the rookery in the park where he 
was hatched. This year, however, he and his mate belong to the thirty-six 
pairs or so which foira the rookery round the house, and they built a nest 
in the smaller of two contiguous elms. I ought to say here that my brother 
and I know this tame bird when on the wing by a slight space about 
midway in his left wing, and on the perch by a small division in his tail- 
feathers, which prevents the tail from presenting the usual evenly rounded 
appearance. On April ILth my brother noticed that his bird carried food to 
and fed a bird sitting on a nest in the larger elm. He had also previously 
observed him carrying sticks to a nest other than his own. Since that day — 
which was I presume one of the first on which his second hen began to sit — 
the tame Idrd has fed both the sitting birds, as a rule, but not invariably, 
alternately. Yesterday (April 17lh) I watched the two nests from 10 a.m. 
to 1.10 p.m., noting down all that occurred. During that time I observed 
that the tame bird fed his mates twelve times. His earlier mate, in the 
smaller elm, he fed seven times and the other five times. On four occasions 
certainly, and possibly on more, he took food — i.e., raw meat or bread and 
milk — from the outhouse in which he is usually fed, but on one occasion I 
watched him fly into ihe meadows and return with a |)0uch full of food in a 
quarter of an hour's time. No other bird fed the two sitting hens or either 
of them during the whole of this time. On each occasion of his feeding 
them I identified our bird as he arrived or departed. The above facts show, 


I think, that this tame Rook is polygamous or rather bigamous I suppose 
that the "high living" which he has always enjoyed, and the ease with 
which he can procure food enough to satisfy two mates and himself, has 
caused him to undertake a task which would probably prove too much for 
the strength and food-providing powers of birds subject to natural conditions, 
and which is therefore seldom or never undertaken by them. — C. R. Gawen 
(Chetwynd I'ark, Newport, Shropshire). 

Young Dippers taking to the Water.— On April 11th I found a 
nest of the Dipper, Ciitdus aquaticus, under a bridge near Chard. Some 
time afterwai'ds, on my brother visiting the spot, one of the young ones 
deliberately dived from tlie nest, which was in the crown of the arch, and 
swam to the other end, a distance of several yards, and then landed and sat 
on the bank as if nothing had happened. As there seems to be some 
doubt whether Dippers readily take to the water or not this observation 
may perhaps be of interest to your readers. — A. H. Buckland (4, East 
Street, Taunton). 

Swallow in Somersetshire in December. — In 1885 I saw a Swallow 
on the down at Clifton, close to the river, in December. It was before the 
7th — and I think on the 3rd — of that month. It was a clear day, and 
though there had been a sharp white frost the night before, there were a 
good many gnats about. — E. R. Clutterbuck (Monks, Corsham, Wilts). 

Cream-coloured Courser in Cardiganshire. — A specimen of the 
Cream-coloured Courser, Cursorius isabeUinus, was shot by me on the 2nd 
October last, at Ymyslas, near Borth, Cardiganshire, on the estuary of the 
Dovey. As the skin has been seen and identified by Mr. Nelson, of Bishop 
Auckland, and Mr. Nicholson, of Manchester, there can be no doubt about 
the species. — A. Hooton (Kersal Towers, Higher Broughton, Manchester). 

Food of the Spotted Flycatcher. — In Latham's ' General History of 
Birds' (vol. ii. p. 32o) I find the following remarks on the Spotted Fly- 
catcher : — " This species frequents orchards where cherries grow, of which 
they are said to be very great destroyers. Hence in Kent are known by 
the name of cherry-suckers." Can any of your readers confirm this state- 
ment? I have always considered the Flycatcher to be, as its name implies, 
an insectivorous bird. — William E. Beckwith (Eaton Constantino, Iron- 
bridge, Salop). 

Norfolk Plover nesting in Nottinghamshire. — Within a few fields 
of this house, I am delighted to say, a pair of Norfolk Plovers, (Edicnemus 
crepitans, are nesting this year, and the owner of the farm they are on is 
taking every care that they may not be disturbed. I am glad to say a pair 
reared their young there last year. — J. Whitaker (Raiuworth Lodge, near 


Autumnal Migration of Birds at Teesmouth. — By the middle of 
October (1886) the autumn migration was in full swing ; Larks, Goldcrests, 
Blackbirds, and most of the regular winter migrants were constantly arriving. 
The first Fieldfares were seen on the 9th, Woodcock on the 11th, and Short- 
eared Owl on the 16th ; while Hooded Crows were very late with us ; I did 
not observe any until the 20tli — generally they arrive during the first week 
of October. On the 14th, while out in a boat, I noticed great numbers of 
sea-birds — Gulls, Ganuets, Skuas, Guillemots, and Razorbills. The Gulls 
were principally Kittiwakes, Larus tridactylus. Guillemots and Razorbills 
passed continuously to the south-east in small flocks of from three or four 
to fifteen or twenty, and all around us for miles we could see birds flying. 
Amongst others we shot an adult Gannet, three Richardson's Skuas, 
L. parasiticus (one adult and two immature), and a male Great Skua, 
L. cataractes. The last named is a rare bird in this district ; Mr. Mussell, 
the birdstuffer at Redcar, tells me lie has never before had one through his 
hands. It is many years since there was such a remarkable abundance of 
bird-life off Redcar ; I never before remember having seen such a number 
and variety of species at one time. Several of the fishermen said they had 
not seen so many Skuas since the great flight on October 14th, 1879 — just 
seven years previously. I saw one Pomatorhine Skua, and the next day 
several of these birds were flying over the rocks before a south-east gale. It 
is quite probable that the commotion amongst the birds at sea might be 
attributed to the impending storm : the Guillemots, particularly, seemed to 
be in great haste, hurrying away as though for dear life. I have frequently 
noticed that sea-birds seem to possess a remarkable instinctive knowledge 
of approaching change of weather, and there is a great deal of truth in the 
saving that " To be a successful wildfowler a man should be also a weather 
prophet." On October loth, a strong south-east gale blowing, many Gulls 
and Skuas passed over the rocks to the north-west, as also a few Ducks ; and, 
on the same day, I saw a large flock of Green Plover crossing from seaward 
and flying high to the south-west. On the 16th a Red-throated Diver, 
Colymbus septcntrionalis, with part of the red-throat patch. remaining, was 
shot off East Scar. On the 18th the wind was strong from the north-east, 
with heavy rain, and several Velvet Scoters, (Edemiafusca, were swimming 
outside the breakers ; two rose and flew past over the sands, when I secured 
one of them. In the afternoon I shot another Velvet Scoter from Redcar 
Pier ; it came ashore with the flowing tide, and proved to be a young male. 
On the 19th it was still stormy ; Ducks, Larks, Woodcocks, Owls, Gold- 
crests and other small birds, crossed in considerable numbers. In the 
afternoona young male Scaup was shot near the pier. On the 20th great 
numbers of Hooded Crows and Larks crossed. On the 21st, at West Scar, 
I secured a young male Long-tailed Duck, Harelda glacialis. On the same 
day two female Long-tails were shot at East Scar. Hooded Crows and 


Ducks passed during the morning. On the 22nd there was a great rush of 
Larks all day, and a few Hooded Crows. Ou the 23rd I saw a Great 
Northern Diver, Colymbus tjlacialis, outside Salt Scar, but could not get 
within a hundred yards of it. In the early part of November, Mr. A. E. 
Pease, M.P., killed a fenmle Goosander, Mergus merganser, in a small 
runner near Guisbro', and about the middle of the month Mr. R. F. Chilton 
shot a large female Great Northern Diver at the Tees-mouth. Mr. Chilton 
informed me that it weighed close upon twelve pounds, which I can quite 
believe, judging from the size of the bird. There has evidently been a flight 
of Shore Larks, Alauda alpestris, ou the coast. Twelve or fifteen were 
killed during the first week in December; on the 10th two more were shot 
ou Coatham sands, and on the 11th Mr. Emerson shot three at the same 
place. I examined ten or a dozen examples, and found all of them to be 
young birds. — T. H. Nelson (North Bondgate, Bishop Auckland). 

Food of the Smew. — It is generally admitted that all the Mergansers 
subsist chiefly on hsh, and such has hitherto been the writer's experience. 
Smews, in particular, almost always contain remains of small fishes, less 
frequently aquatic insects; and though the diving ducks often yield on 
dissection no further results than a few small pebbles, the Smews are rarely 
obtained when fasting. On a recent occasion a Smew proved to have 
eighteen minnows in its gullet, while the stomach contained the remains of 
others. It may therefore be worth while to record that a Smew of the 
year, purchased in Leadenhall ou March 25th, contained no remains of 
animal food, but the stomach held a small quantity of digested vegetable 
matter. A\\ adult opened a month earlier contained a small eel, which was 
quite intact. — H. A. Macpherson. 

The Ancestry of Birds. — If birds are developed from amphibians or 
pre-amphibians, and if Prof. Huxley is right, as I believe he is, in supposing 
that the connection of mammals with amphibians is neither through reptiles 
nor birds, we come to this: that amphibians or pre-amphibians have 
furnished the common stem whence reptiles, birds, and mammals have 
diverged. In that case there is an end of that group, " Sauropsida," which 
the birds are alleged by Prof. Parker to "culminate." But, further, 
amphibians are certainly more closely allied to reptiles than to either birds 
or mammals. Cuvier's system may therefore be justly reverted to, and the 
Amphibia or Batrachia be considered as the lowest division of the Reptilia, 
which I do not for one moment doubt is the true classification. — Prof. 
Cleland in ' Nature.' 


Colour and Size of Adders.— Is there any truth in the assertion, 
which I have often heard, that the colour of Adders depends upon the kind 
of soil ou which they hve? I am disinclined to accept this theory, as 

272 THE Z00LO(ilST. 

I have seeu Adders of very different colour living on the same kind of soil, 
and have seen them killed within a few yards of one another. I am 
speaking of the country about Dorking and Leith Hill, and there I used to 
see them of various colours — dull yellowish brown, with the dorsal spots 
dark brown ; lighter yellow, with red spots ; reddish grey, with red spots ; 
very light greenish grey, with black spots ; and some almost black all 
over. I never saw the handsome dark red variety. As far as I can 
recollect, they have all red-coloured eyes. I should much like to know 
the size that Adders have attained to. The largest I killed, and which 
I measured before it was quite dead, was 26 inches, and I saw two others 
killed about the same time and place, which were both 24 inches. These 
sizes are undoubtedly above the average, but I fancy that considerably 
larger ones have been obtained. The 20-inch one was dull yellow, with 
dark brown spots, and on being captured gave out a strong smell, which 
fact I have never seeu alluded to in any book. One of the other two was 
a little darker in colour than the one just described, and the other was very 
light grey, with jet-black markings, just out of his old skin, and one of the 
handsomest I ever saw. When the yellowish red ones are " clean moulted" 
they look very like a gold bracelet, when coiled up, basking in the sun. 
I kept some alive for several months, and tried to entice them to eat with 
all sorts of dainties, such as small frogs, mice, young birds, slugs, lizards, 
and bread-and-milk ; these — with the exception, of course, of the last- 
mentioned dish — I used to give them alive, but they refused everything 
except two unhappy lizards. These they certainly ate, although I did not 
witness the operation. I kept them in a large box, with perforated zinc in 
the sides and a sliding glass top ; sand, stones, and moss inside. I used to 
let them out to have a run occasionally, and always picked them up by 
their tails to put them back into their box. When carried by the tail they 
are harmless, as they are unable to curl up to reach the hand, although 
they make strenuous efforts to do so. But I should be very sorry to 
attempt to pick up by the tail a wild Adder without first pinning him 
to the ground with a stick on his neck. Referring back to the Lizards 
which I gave them, I observed that they evinced signs of great terror on 
being introduced to the Adders, rushing about frantically in all directions, 
as if they very well knew what an Adder was; and I have no doubt that 
they are constantly preyed upon by Adders in a wild state. T hope that 
this will be borne out by others who have studied these interesting, and to 
my mind handsome, creatures, as I have not yet seen anything but mice 
reported as their food. In catching Adders on the move with a forked 
stick, one must aim well forward, or a clean miss will be the inevitable 
result. They can be carried home dangling to a string tied round their 
necks.— G. E. Lodge (5, Verulam Buildings, Gray's Inn). 



Lumpsucker on the Welsh Coast.— The occurrence on this coast of 
the Lumpsucker, Cyclopterus lumpus, may be worth recording. Two 
examples were washed ashore, about the middle of Maj', in the Traeth 
back, a tidal estuary near Port Madoc. The smaller of the two, which 
appeared quite fresh, measured about thirteen inches in length. The other 
was considerably larger, but much damaged by sea-birds. A specimen of 
the Sea Wolf, Anarchicas lupus, about three feet long, said to have been 
taken off Barmouth, was obtained from a fishmonger at Port Madoc in 
May. I have not met with either of these fishes before on this coast, 
and believe they are not common here. — G. H. Caton Haigh (Aber-ia, 
Penrhyndendraeth, Merionethshire). 


Bees occupying Birds' Nests. — The occurrence mentioned by Mr. 
A. H. Bucklaud (p. 238) I do not think is very uncommon. I have 
frequently found birds' nests thus tenanted. Occasionally the nests have 
been new ones, but in these cases I have no doubt that they had been 
robbed and deserted by the birds previous to the bees taking possession. 
The nests I have usually found thus inhabited have been those of the 
Meadow Pipit, Hedgesparrow, and Robin, and, on one occasionally only, 
a Wren's.— Riley Foetune (Alston House, Harrogate). 



April 7, 1887. — Wm. Carrdthers, F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

The following gentlemen were elected Fellows of the Society : — Mr. 
Hunter J. Barron, Mr. James H. Dugdale, and Mr. Edward B. Poulton. 

A series of photographs, taken instantaneously from life, of the White 
Stork, Ciconia alba, were exhibited by Mr. Edward Bidwell. These had 
been executed in Germany, and most accurately represented the birds 
during the breeding season. Not only were the nests, young thereon, and 
old birds well shown, but the remarkable attitudes assumed preparatory to 
alighting and commencing flight, as well as the peculiar twist of the neck 
in calling, &c., were most instructive. 

Dr. Francis Day showed and described some malformed Trout in an 
early stage of development. 

An important botanical paper on the Gentians was read by Prof. Huxley, 



April 21, 1887. — Wm. Carruthers, F.R.S., President, in the chair. 

Mr. W. Isaac Spencer was elected a Fellow of the Societj'. 

Mr. Patrick Geddes read a paper " On the Nature and Causes of 
Variation in Plants and Animals." The fact of organic evolution is no 
longer denied, but its physiological factors have not j'et been adequately 
analysed. Even those who regard natural selection as at once the most 
important and the only ascertained factor of the process admit that such an 
explanation being from the external standpoint — the adaptation of the 
organism to survive the shocks of the environment — stands'in need of a 
complementary explanation which shall lay bare the internal mechanism 
of the process, — i. e. not merely account for the survival, but explain the 
origin of variations. The relative importance of the external and internal 
explanation will moreover vary greatly in proportion as variations are 
found to be "spontaneous," — i.e. in some given direction continuously. 
Avoiding any mere postulation of an inherent progressive tendency common 
to both pre- and post-Darwinian writers, the definite analysis of the problem 
starts with that conception of protoplasm which is the ultimate result of 
morphological and physiological analysis, — viz. to interpret all phenomena 
of form and function of cells, tissues, organs and individuals alike in terms 
of its constructive and destructive ("anabolic and katabolic") changes. 
While the external or environmental explanation of evolution starts with 
the empirical study of the effect of human selection upon the variations of 
animals and plants under domestication, the internal or organismal one as 
naturally commences with the fundamental rhythm of variation in the 
lowest organism in nature. It also investigates the nature of the simple 
reproductive variation upon which the origin of species as well as individuals 
must depend, before attempting that of individual variation. The inter- 
pretation of all the phenomena of male and female sex as the outcome of 
katabolic and anabolic preponderance is shown largely to supersede the 
current one of sexual selection, and in some cases at least that of 
natural selection; e.rf. the specially important one of the origin of such 
polymorphic communities as those of ants and bees. In such cases 
natural selection acts not as the cause of organic evolution, but as the 
check or limitation of it, and acquires importance rather as determining the 
extinction than the origin of species. The process of correlation, especially 
that between individuation and reproduction is mooted by the author, and 
its application to the origin and modification of flowers, &c., outlined. 
A discussion is given of the embryological and pathological factors of internal 
evolution, with an outlined application of the whole argument to the 
construction of genealogical tree of plants and animals. 

A report was read " On the Gephyreans of the Mergui Archipelago," by 
Prof. Erail Selenka, of Erlangen ; this communication, dealing chiefly with 
a technical description of the species, a few being new. 


May 5, 1887.— Wm. Caruuthkrs, F.R.S., President, in tlie chair. 

Mr. Ernest W. Forrest and Mr. George Perrin were elected Fellows; 
Mr. W. Hadden Beeby, Mr. Adolphus H. Kent, and Mr. J. Medley Wood 
(Natal) were elected Associates ; Prof. Dr. Geo. Aug. Schwenfurth of Cairo, 
Prof. Count Hermann Solms-Laubach of Gottingen, Dr. Franz Stein- 
dachner of Vienna, M. le Dr. Melchior Treub of Buitenzorg, Java, and 
Prof. Dr. Augustus Weismann of Freiburg, were elected Foreign Members 
of the Society. 

The Auditors elected to examine the Treasurer's accounts were Mr. F. 
Victor Dickins and Mr. George Maw on behalf of the Fellows, and Mr. J. 
Edmund Harting and Mr. A. D. Michael to represent the Council. 

Mr. J. R. Willis Bund exhibited specimens in spirit of the Rainbow 
Trout, Salmo iridons, which had been reared at the Hatcheries of the Fish 
Culture Estaldishment at Delaford Park. He pointed out the great 
difference in size of members of the brood which were of the same age, 
having been reared from eggs of the same batch. He mentioned that 
circumstances tended to show that it was a migratory fish, hence as such 
the value of its introduction into this country as a Stream Trout would be 
materially diminished. 

A Report on the Alcyonaria and Gorgonise of the Mergui Archipelago, 
by Stuart 0. Ridley, was read, and in which a number of new forms were 
described. The author states that, looking at the Alcyonarian fauna of 
the Burmese coast generally, we find that it is in no way behind that of 
any other part of the Indian Ocean so far as known. Judging from the 
present collection, it would seem to be rich in the soft fleshy Alcyonid 
section — e. g. Spongodes and Lobophyton, &c. — while the Gorgonias are also 
fairly represented in new species, and one new member of the family 
Melithmidce is now added, viz. Mopsella planiloca. — J. Mubie. 

Zoological Society of London. 

May 17, 1887.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, in 
the chair. 

The President read some extracts from a letter which he had received 
from Dr. Emiu Pasha, dated Wadelai, November 3rd, relating to some 
skulls of the Chimpanzee from Monbottu, to some portions of the skeleton 
of individuals of the Akka tribe, and to some other objects of natural history 
which he had forwarded [via Uganda) to the British Museum of Natural 

Mr. A.Thomson exhibited some specimens of a rare Papilio{P.porthaon) 
from Delagoa Bay, reared in the Society's Gardens. 

Prof. Howes exhibited a drawing of a head of Palinurus j^enicillatus. 


received from M. A. Milne-Edwards, and remarked on the assumption of 
antenniform characters by the left ophthalmite shown in this specimen. 

A paper was read by Mr. W. F. Kirby, Assistant in the Zoological 
Department, British Museum, entitled " A Revision of the Subfamily 
LibellidincE, with descriptions of new Genera and Species." The last 
compendium of this group was published by Dr. Brauer in 1808, in which 
forty genera were admitted. Mr. Kirby now raised the number to eighty- 
eight, all fully tabulated and described in his paper, which likewise included 
descriptions of fifty-two new species. Mr. Kirby gave a short sketch of the 
characters of the LibelluUna, and more especially of the neuration, which 
he considered to be of primary importance. 

Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe read the third part of his series of notes on the 
Hume Collection of Birds, which related to Syriiium maingayi, Hume, and 
to the various specimens of this Owl in the British Museum. 

A communication was read from Mr. A. Smith Woodward, on the 
presence of a canal-system, evidently sensory, in the shields of Pteraspidian 
fishes. Mr. Woodward described a specimen which seemed to prove that 
the series of small pits or depressions upon tho shields of these ancient 
fishes, observed by Prof. Ray Lankester, are really the openings of an 
extensive canal-system traversing the middle layer of the shield. 

A second communication from Mr. A. Smith Woodward contained some 
notes on the " lateral line " of Squaloraja, in which it was shown that the 
"lateral line" of this extinct Liassic Selachian was an open groove sup- 
ported, as in the Chimseroids, by a series of minute ring-like calcifications. 

June 7, 1887. — E. W. H. Holdsworth, Esq., F.Z.S., in the chair. 

The Secretary read a report on the additions that had been made to 
the Society's Menagerie during the month of May, and called attention 
to a Tooth-billed Pigeon, Didunculus strigirostris, brought home from the 
Samoan Islands, and presented to the Society by Mr. Wilfred Powell; to 
two Red-spotted Lizards, Eremias rnhro-jmnctata, obtained at Moses' Well, 
in the Peninsula of Sinai, and presented to the Society by Mr. G. Wigan; 
and to a small scarlet Tree Frog, Dendrobates typographus, from Costa Rica, 
presented to the Society by Mr. C. H. Blomefield. 

Mr. Sclater called attention to examples of two North-American Foxes 
now living in the Society's Gardens, which he referred to Canis velox and 
C. virginianus. 

A communication was read from Mr. A. 0. Hume, C.B., containing 
some notes on Budorcas taxicolor, the Gnu-goat or Takin of the Mishmee 
Hills, and some remarks on the question of the form of the horns in the 
female of this animal. 

A communication was read from Mr. E. Symonds, containing notes on 
various species of Snakes met with in the vicinity of Kroonstadt, Orange 


Free State, specimens of which had been forwarded to Mr. J. H. Gurney, 
and determined by Dr. Giinther. 

Mr. Martin Jacoby gave an account of a small collection of Coleoptera 
obtained by Mr. W. L. Sclater in British Guiana. 

Prof. G. B. Howes read a paper on an hitherto unrecognised feature in 
the larynx of the Anurous Amphibians. This was the existence in many 
individuals of various species of a rudimentary structure, which appeared 
to correspond to the epiglottis of Mammals, and which in some instances 
attained a remarkable development as an organ of voice. — P. L. Sclater, 

Entomological Society of London. 

June 1, 1887. — Dr. David Sharp, F.Z.S., President, in the chair. 

Mr. PhiHp Crowley exhibited the following specimens of Diurni, from 
the Kareen Hills, Burmah: — Pupilio Zaleiicus, H.e\v.,Papilio Adanisoni, 
Smith, Papilio ? sp. (male and female), and Nymphalis Nicholii, Smith. 

Mr. T. R. Billups exhibited several specimens of an ant found at Kew, 
frequenting a species of palm from Tropical Australia, and which had been 
determined as Tapinoma melanocephalum ; also living specimens of Carabus 
auratus, from the Borough Market, and of a species of Blaps from Northern 

Mr. Waterhouse exhibited a specimen of a Brazilian Locust, Cono- 
cephalus ? sp., which he had for some time preserved alive, -and which had 
only died that same morning. He called attention to the change of colour 
which he had observed in the eyes of this insect ; in a bright light they 
were dirty white or horn-coloured, with a black dot in the middle ; but at 
night, or if the insects were confined in a dark box, they became altogether 
black; shortly after death, also, the eyes became black. Mr. M'Lachlan 
observed that he had noticed a darker spot in the centre of the eye in certain 
Ephemeridse, and in other Neuroptera. The discussion was continued by 
Dr. Sharp and others, but no one seemed to be able to account for the 
alteration in question. 

Lord Walsingham exhibited specimens of Caterenina terehrella, Zk., 
a species lately taken in Britain, which he had caught in Norfolk, and bred 
from fir-cones gathered in the same locality. 

Mr. Meyrick read two papers, " On Pyralidina from Australia and 
the South Pacific" and " Descriptions of some exotic Micro-Lepidoptera." 
In these papers at)out sixty new species were described. A discussion 
ensued, in which Dr. Sharp, Mr. Staintou, Mr. M'Lachlan, and others took 
part. Mr. Meyrick stated that, as far as the Pyralidina were concerned, 
Australia could not be I'egarded as a separate region, for a large number 
were not endemic, but appeared to have been introduced from the Malay 


Archipelago. The method of this immigratiou seemed doubtful. Mr. 
Meyrick was of opinion that the insects flew very long distances, and 
effected a settlement through their food-plants being widely distributed and 
common. He instanced the undoubted immigration of certain Australian 
species into New Zealand, a distance of 1200 miles. Mr. Stainton adduced 
the instance of Margarodes unionalis, which is a South-European insect, 
feeding on the olive, yet is occasionally found in Britain. 

Mr. Meyrick exhibited, in connection with his papers, Oxychirota 
paradoxa, Meyr. (unique specimen representing the family Oxychirotidse), 
Epharpastis dccdala, Meyr., and Mixophijla erminea, Moore. 

Mr. Meyrick also made some observations on the distribution of the 
insect fauna in the various regions of Australia ; he said that it appeared to 
be more or less different in certain defined portions of the continent, which 
might be roughly regarded as oases in the midst of desert districts : all his 
observations, however, had tended to upset Mr. Wallace's theory that 
Eastern and Western Australia were originally separated, as the gradations 
in the insect fauna from east to west were quite gradual; in Western 
Australia the Tineina were the only group well represented by peculiar 
endemic forms. 

Mr. Pascoe read a paper " On the genus Byrsops" a genus of Cur- 

The President announced that Lord Walsingham's collection of Lepi- 
doptera and larvae, recently presented to the nation, would be exhibited in 
the Hall at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, until the end 
of June.— W. W. F. 


A Nomenclature of Colours for Naturalists, and Compendium of 
Useful Knoioledge for Ornithologists. By Egbert Ridgway, 
Curator, Department of Birds, U. S. National Museum. 
8vo, pp. 130, with ten coloured plates and seven plates of 
outline illustrations. Boston, U. S. 

Some five years ago the present writer, in advocating the 
desirability of adopting a standard of nomenclature for the 
description of the colours of natural objects, remarked :* — 

" In the Animal Kingdom the number of colours is very 
great. They often form the most striking feature in the external 
appearance of species, and hence have been considered by 

* Proc. Zool. Sec. 1882, p. 391. 


systematists as affording distinguishing characters of much 
value. But an object may be described as of one colour by 
one person, and be taken by another person for quite a different 
tint ; for the names of colours are frequently misapplied, and 
one name is often indisciiminately given to many colours. 
Hence arises an uncertainty in reading and a perplexity in 
writing a description which would be obviated were some 
standard of nomenclature available for general reference. 

" So long ago as 1831 there appeared a manual the utility of 
which seems to have been quite lost sight of, owing, perhaps, 
chiefly to the fact that it has long been out of print and difficult 
to procure, namely, Werner's ' Nomenclature of Colours,' edited 
by Syme." 

This work, excellent in principle, was designed to meet the 
very want which he now ventured to express, but which was 
hardly experienced at the date of its publication, inasmuch as it 
was not then the general practice to publish the careful and 
detailed descriptions of species with which we are now familiar. 

Assuming the want of such a standard nomenclature, and the 
desirability of satisfying it, the writer was of opinion that the 
publication of a new edition of Werner's Manual, under the 
auspices of the Zoological Society, would ensure a speedy adop- 
tion of the standard, and would be the means of obviating in 
future the confusion hitherto prevailing for want of it. 

The suggestion having been taken up by Mr. Ridgwaj', and 
carefully considered, has resulted in the publication of the 
volume now before us. It is not a new edition of Werner's 
Manual, however, but an entirely original work, divided into two 
parts, and covering a much larger field than that traversed by 

Part I., on the Nomenclature of Colours, contains remarks on 
the principles of colour ; on colours required by the zoological 
or botanical artist ; and includes a comparative vocabulary of 
colours, in seven languages ; and a bibliography containing the 
titles of seven works only, the subject being one on which it 
would seem that very little has been published. 

Part II., entitled the "Ornithologist's Compendium," includes 
a glossary of technical terms, and tables for converting milli- 
metres into English inches and decimals, and vice versa. Seven- 
teen plates show the various shades (which are named) of all the 


primary colours with their combinations, and figures illustrating 
the internal anatomy and wing-surfaces of a bird, colour markings, 
egg contours, and a comparative scale of measurement standard — 
a veritable multum in parvo. 

With regard to the patterns of colours, we find about twenty 
shades of each rej^resented on each plate in small oblong squares, 
with the names immediately below them, and on the opposite 
page an indication of the colours which when combined will 
produce them. On the whole the result appears satisfactory, 
but we may point out that the plates being hand-coloured there 
must obviously be a risk of variation in difi'erent copies of the 
book — a difficulty which was obviated in Werner's Manual by 
having every shade of colour printed in sheets which were cut out 
into small pieces of the size required, and pasted on to the plates. 
In addition to this, and in order to illustrate his meaning better, 
Werner gave the name of such species in the animal, vegetable, 
and mineral kingdoms as have the particular shade of colour 
mentioned — an excellent plan to prevent misconception which 
Mr. Eidgway might have adopted with advantage. 

Another point for criticism which occurs to us is this : in 
naming and figuring a particular colour, it seems to us that 
Mr. Ridgway's views do not always coincide with popular notions 
on the subject. To take various shades of green, for example : 
his " malachite-green " (No. 6) does not correspond to the colour 
of that mineral, which resembles rather what he names " viridian 
green" (No. 8), or "sea-green" (No. 5), while his "pea-green" 
(No. 9) reminds us rather of the dried than of the fresh pea, and 
his "emerald-green" (No. 16) is not the colour of an emerald. 
It may perhaps be said that these are really the shades which are 
known to artists and artists' colourmen by these particular names. 
If so the author must be absolved from blame, and we can only 
regret that the nomenclature has not been more accurately 

Mr. Ridgway's book in many respects will be found extremely 
useful to working naturalists, and the adoption by them of his 
standard of nomenclature, by securing uniformity, will obviate in 
future a deal of misconception which at present arises whenever 
the colours of a new species are loosely or inconsiderately 



VoL.XL] AUGUST, 1887. [No. J 28. 


In 'The Zoologist' for May, 1882, we gave a translation 
from the German of an interesting article on this subject con- 
tributed by Dr. A. Eabus to * Der Zoologische Garten.' A further 
contribution to the subject by Prof. Forel has since appeared in 
the • Eevue de I'hypnotism,' and as this journal is not likely to 
come under the notice of many of our readers, they may perhaps 
be glad to see the article in question in an English dress. We have 
accordingly translated it, premising that while the observations 
of Dr. Rabus relate to our well-known Myoxus avellanarius, those 
of Professor Forel have reference to its congener, Myoxus glis, 
a common species in the South of Europe. Prof. Forel says : — 

" While residing at Munich I was offered two Dormice, whose 
owner wished to get rid of them after having been bitten. He 
gave them to me in winter, and I was much astonished at not 
receiving them in a state of sleep. On the contrary, they were 
quite active— a circumstance which I attributed to the heat of the 
room. I put them in a large wire cage from five to six feet high, 
m the centre of which there was a small fir tree. I also allowed 
the little creatures the run of the room. Throughout the winter 
they continued lively and active, eating an enormous quantity of 
walnuts and hazel-nuts. As soon as one of them had laboriously 
gnawed one through, the other came stealthily and tried to take 
It away from him. They were always spiteful, ever ready to bite. 
After having been fed all through the spring they became very 




fat, and I was not a little astonished to see them one after 
another, in the month of May, fall into their lethargic sleep, 
which, according to all I had read in books, ought only to 
have occurred in winter under the influence of cold. They 
became as slothful as little bears — their movements got slower and 
slower ; finally they squatted in a corner and became completely 

" In this condition their temperature became lowered, their 
respiratory action became slower, and their lips presented an 
ashy appearance. The little animals, placed in the open air, and 
at first more or less rolled up, ended by remaining half extended 
on their backs ; nevertheless on being pricked they made certain 
reflex movements, especially a feeble grunting or whistling, and 
by dint of exciting them I was able for a moment to instil a little 
life into them. But as soon as I left them quiet they relapsed 
into their lethargy. I then made a rather curious experiment : 
I took one of the Dormice and placed it on the top of the little 
fir tree in the middle of the cage. Although it was asleep it was 
suflicient to make it touch a slender branch with the plantar 
surface of its paws to excite a reflex contraction, which made it 
grasp the branch which it would instinctively have done if awake. 
I then let go, leaving him thus suspended to his branch. He 
relapsed by degrees into somnolency. The muscles of the 
grasping paw slowly relaxed, the plantar surface extended began 
to hold the branch only at its extremity near the claws, and 
I feared my Dormouse was going to fall ; but at the moment of 
losing its equilibrium a sort of instinctive spasm shot through its 
nervous system, and another paw seized the lower branch next 
within reach in such a way that the animal only came down a peg. 
Then the same performance was repeated. The Dormouse 
relapsed into sleep at first, the foot slowly relaxed its hold up 
to the moment of letting go, when the other paw caught hold of 
a lower branch ; thus it descended, sleeping without falling, the 
whole way down the fir tree from top to bottom, until it reached 
the floor of the cage, where it remained in a state of lethargy. 
I repeated the experiment several times with the two Dormice, 
always with the same result ; neither of them ever allowed itself 
to fall. 

" The sleep of these Dormice — occasionally interrupted by a 
day or a few hours awakening, more or less complete, during 


which time they ate a little — lasted the greater part of the 
summer, and by degrees entirely ceased in the month of August : 
they had slept throughout the greatest heat of June and July. 
Towards the end of this lethargic sleep they became considerably 
attenuated, though less so, however, than one would have 
expected. Their body temperature taken during their lethargic 
sleep was from 20 to 22 degrees centigrade. 

" From these facts it clearly results that the so-called winter- 
sleep of the Dormouse cannot be directly due to the lowering 
of its temperature ; perhaps the state of their nutrition— the 
amassing of fat in their tissues — is the cause, or one of the 
principal causes. But it seems that this condition, whatever its 
cause, is akin to catalepsy and hypnotic sleep. On this account 
it seems to me that the study of hypnotism in the Dormouse 
possesses considerable interest, and I should be glad if the 
perusal of these remarks were to give rise to further useful 

By Oliver V. Aplin and A. H. Macpherson. 

January. — On the 2nd, besides fifty or sixty Mallard and 
Duck, sixty-five Pochards and five Tufted Ducks were seen upon 
Clattercutt Eeservoir. A male Merlin was shot close to Oxford 
in the early part of the month. Sparrowhawks were common 
throughout the winter about Oxford, when they might almost be 
called winter visitors, as they are very scarce in summer. A 
variety of the Song Thrush, having the top of the head pure 
white, was shot on Headington Hill, and is now in M.'s collection. 
A male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was shot at Great Bourton 
on the 9th. A Coot, frozen out, was captured in a garden on the 
outskirts of Banbury on the 21st. A grey Goose of some kind 
was seen flying over Banbury on the 23rd. A large flock of 
Fieldfares at the end of the month frequented the vicinity of 
Clattercutt Reservoir, coming down to drink at one or two un- 
frozen holes, the ice around being considerably discoloured by 
them. A rather light-coloured Short-eared Owl, the only one 
heard of during the winter, was shot near Wroxton on the 27th. 
Some very large flocks of Wood Pigeons were observed in the 


north of the county at the end of the month ; on the 30th, two 
flocks winging their way to roost in the Aynhoe Woods must 
have numbered two hundred each. 

February. — A very dark-coloured male specimen of the 
Common Buzzard was trapped at Horton on the 5th. A male 
Bittern was shot at Merton on the 8th. A Waxwing was seen by 
Mr. W. Wyatt on the outskirts of Banbury on the 13th ; he was 
able to get pretty close to it, and watched it for some time ; Mr. 
Wyatt is well acquainted with the bird, having preserved two or 
three specimens. A specimen of that unusual visitor to Oxford- 
shire, the Dipper (now in F. C. A.'s collection), was shot by a 
small stream in the northern extremity of the county, near Farn- 
borough, on the 20th. A pied variety of the Jackdaw was shot 
near Oxford this month. On the 9th, in a flock of about seventy 
Ring Doves near Oxford, M. saw one apparently nearly pure 
white. Throughout January and February Bramblings were 
unusually numerous about Oxford ; a very richly-coloured speci-- 
men was shot there at the end of the latter month, which had 
almost assumed its full spring dress ; another had its flanks of a 
reddish orange ; the earliest we heard of was shot in the north of 
the county on January lUth; about the end of February a boy 
took forty in his bat-fowling nets near Wroxton. 

March. — The weather was excessively severe during the first 
half of the month, and all the Thrushes suff"ered greatly, but none 
so much as the Fieldfares ; numbers of these were caught by the 
hand— too weak to fly. The supply of haws being exhausted, 
and the few remaining being in a dry and shrivelled condition, 
the birds had great difiiculty in obtaining food ; one shot on the 
6th had been feeding upon half-rotten swedes in the sheep-pens, 
and the whole bird, the intestines especially, was thoroughly 
impregnated with the smell. During the summer, when looking 
for nests, it was quite a common occurrence to find the remains of 
a Fieldfare in the middle of the hedge. About 150 Bramblings 
were killed at three shots near Balscot in the first days of 
the month. Three birds received by A. from that place, shot on 
the third, had lost nearly all the brown feather-edges of winter; 
one had a black chin ; two more were shot at Wroxton on the 4th. 
Mr. W. W. Fowler informs us that four Curlews were seen close 
to the village of Kingham about the 12th of the month. One 
Hooded Crow was seen by M. feeding with some Rooks in 


Christchuvch Meadow on the 13th. Two days after, one was shot 
about six miles from Oxford, and a third was killed near Banbury 
on the 30th; this is an usually late date for them to linger in 
Oxfordshire. A Great Crested Grebe in full nuptial dress was 
killed on the Isis at Sandford on the 7th ; they were delayed by 
the ice from returning to Clattercutt Reservoir until the 28th ; in 
mild seasons they appear a month earlier. Tufted Ducks having 
been frozen out since the early part of January (the ice bearing 
skaters up to the middle of this month), a male and female put in 
an appearance on Clattercutt on the 28th ; they were evidently 
paired, the drake closely following his partner with an air of 
proud proprietorship ; and it was hoped that they might remain 
to breed, but they disappeared shortly after. 

April. — A male Ring Ouzel was shot on Headington Hill 
early in the month. A pair of Nuthatches were observed by A. 
on the 14th, carrying nesting materials into a hole about thirty- 
five feet up in the trunk of an elm tree on Bloxham Grove, from 
which he had eggs more than twelve years before ; the clutch of 
seven fresh eggs were taken at the end of the first week in May. 
Mr. W. Fowler observed a pair of Pied Flycatchers in a field 
studded with trees at Kingham on the 24th. On the same day a 
beautiful exam|)le of the Lesser Tern was shot close to the barges 
on the river at Oxford. One Black Tern was shot, on the 30th, 
on the canal above Banbury. On the night of the 24th a Night- 
ingale flew against a window in Banbury, and was picked up dead. 
A Hoopoe was seen at Elsfield on the 26th. 

May. — We are able to record the third occurrence of the 
White Wagtail in the county, M. having observed one on the 
river-bank above Oxford on the 4th. A specimen of the Common 
Sandpiper was observed on the bank at Clattercutt on the 1st, 
but had disappeared the next day. On the river above Oxford 
four were seen on the 4th ; they make but a very short stay with 
us at this season. The Turtle Dove was observed at Great 
Bourton on the 8th by both recorders ; this is an early date for 
its arrival. Hirundines suffered greatly from the stormy weather 
in the second week {vide Zool. 1886, p. 300). An adult Black 
Tern was shot on the river at Oxford on the 7th. A female 
Whimbrel was killed at Thame on the Sist ; although of not very 
uncommon occurrence upon the spring migration, it is extremely 
rare in autumn. On the 17th a curious light variety of the 


Yellow Bunting was shot close to Oxford. An immature Lesser 
Black-backed Gull was shot on Port Meadow, Oxford, on the i2th. 
On the same evening a flock of Gulls, all immature and either 
L. fuscus or L. argentatiis, passed over Oxford, flying north, high 
up. Heav}' rain fell on and off from the 11th until the 14th; 
wind N.E., backing to N.W. ; very large floods in the valleys. 
Mr. Warner reports that during a stormy week in May (probably 
the second) a flock of the Common Tern was noticed at New- 
bridge in company with Swallows and Martins, playing about 
over the surface of the water for a day or two. M. saw one in 
the distance at Oxford on the 12th, and a flock of eight were seen 
on the upper river near Godstow about the end of the month. 

June. — One specimen of the Lesser Tern was seen by M. 
flying about over the river above Oxford on the 2nd. Four 
immature specimens of the Common Gull were seen flying over 
Port Meadow on the I'Jth. On the same day two large Gulls, 
either L. fuscus or L. argentatus, were flying over the river at 
Sandford ; weather cold, with wind in the east about this time. 
M. saw a Grey Wagtail on the banks of the Cherwell near Islip 
on the 26th ; it is extremely rare with us in summer. Although 
common enough in the reed-beds of the Cherwell at Oxford, and 
spreading thence into the thickets and bushes of the " Parks," 
the Reed Warbler is decidedly rare in the north of the county. 
On the evening of the 27th A. heard one singing in a large bed of 
rushes at the upper end of Clattercutt, and in July detected its 
presence also in an osier-bed on the Swere where it flows into the 
Cherwell. A pair of Grasshopper Warblers probably nested in 
the mowing grass of a meadow between Bourton and Hanwell, as 
the male sung there nightly ; they are found annually on the 
small remaining portion of Hanwell Heath, a short distance off. 
A pair of Bullfinches, forsaking their usual habit of seeking soli- 
tude in the breeding season, nested this year in a belt of thick 
yew trees which border a much-frequented path in Mr. F. C. 
Aplin's garden at Bodicote, within a dozen yards of the house. 

July. — Mr. W. Fowler having seen a Red-backed Shrike at 
Kingham on the 8th, made a careful search for pellets, and found 
among other things two portions of the shrivelled skin of a Water 
Shrew {S. fodiens), each forming a complete ring. Mr. Warner 
reports that, on the 13th, a young specimen of the Long-eared 
Owl was seen in broad daylight perched on a fence near Stanton 


Harcourt ; as a resident it is decidedly rare with us. Two 
examples of the Egyptian Goose were shot near Cowley about the 
middle of the month; they had doubtless strayed from some 
ornamental water ; though Mr. Darbey, from whom we received 
the information, could hear of none missing at that time, and 
found no marks of confinement on them. A white variety of the 
Swallow, a young bird, was shot at Hampton Doyle early in the 

August. — A female Wheatear was seen by A. near Banbury 
on the 13th; may possibly have nested in the district, migrants 
being seldom seen until the first or second week in September. 
At the close of summer the disastrous effect upon Swallows and 
Martins of the cold stormy weather in May could be clearly 
traced in the small numbers to be seen in the air after the second 
broods had flown, and when in an ordinary year they should have 

September. — When shooting near Nell Bridge this month, 
we noticed a large nest placed in one of a row of four trees in the 
meadows. The tenant told us that a pair of Herons came and 
built it just before haymaking time (end of June), and that being 
disturbed when the grass was cut, they left, but returned when 
the fields were quiet again ; no young seem to have been hatched. 
There is no heronry in the neighbourhood, but the birds are con- 
stantly to be seen about there. The first Snipe was seen and shot 
there on the 18th. The Common Sandpiper was observed on the 
Cherwell near Nell Bridge on the 15th. A Hooded Crow was 
shot at the beginning of the month at Oxford ; this is an early 
date for it to arrive in the county, and, considering that examples 
were observed up to the end of March, it seems possible that the 
species may have bred in the Midlands this year. A specimen of 
the Kedshank was shot at Chorton, near Islip, in the early part 
of the month. An interesting variety of the Corn Bunting was 
shot at Marsden ; it had evidently been entirely white, and was 
killed in the middle of its autumn moult while reverting to its 
normal plumage ; a few normal feathers showed on the breast, 
and some of the new primaries had appeared ; the majority of the 
new tail-feathers had also come in ; the old primaries and rectrices 
were very much worn, and quite "hairy"; it is now in M.'s col- 
lection. A white variety of the Linnet tinged with buff was also 
shot during this month at Hinksey, and is now in M.'s collection. 


Two varieties of the Stock Dove were shot on Shotover Hill, near 
Oxford, about the first week in September ; one, a very pretty 
variety, mottled with cream-colour, has been described in ' The 
Field' (October) by Mr. J. Whitaker, in whose collection it now 
is ; the other had nothing abnormal about it, except its primaries 
and rectrices, which were of a nut-brown. A Curlew was shot at 
Heyford during this month. A clutch of ten fresh eggs of the 
Quail was taken at Standlake at the end of the month. 

October. — Mr. AVarner informs us that a Wheatear lingered 
until the early part of the month, and was seen by him at Stand- 
lake. A Redwing arrived in North Oxon on the 9th, and a 
Fieldfare at Oxford on the 21st. A male Grey Phalarope, in 
M.'s collection, was shot at Bletchingdon on the 18th. The 
Brambling was first seen on the 30th near Oxford. During the 
second week in the month large numbers of Common Terns 
visited Oxford, and many of them were shot. On the 36th, M. 
saw a Sedge Warbler close to the river above Oxford ; it tried to 
sing, but could only manage a few notes, and looked the picture 
of misery, as the wind was verj' cold. A beautiful variety of the 
Ring Dove was shot near Banbury on the 27th, having been 
observed about the place since the previous winter, when it 
accompanied a large flock. The mantle and wings are dove- 
coloured, mottled with a little white ; primaries light brown, 
marked with white; tail brownish; lower back a delicate lavender, 
otherwise normal. The man who shot it said it looked almost 
white on the wing. It is now in Mr. Whitaker's collection. At 
the end of the month we had a considerable flight of Snipe, about 
forty full birds and two Jacks being flushed from one or two 
meadows at Nell Bridge ; two days after, they had all departed. 
Large numbers of Peewits on the 20th, and the meadows black 
with Starlings. Some Teal also at that time. Two Pochards 
had arrived at Clattercutt on the 30th, on which day a Crested 
Grebe was seen in full winter dress. 

November. — A drake Shoveller was shot on Otmoor on the 12th, 
where a good many Teal were bagged in the middle of the month. 

December. — A fine male of the white variety of the Pheasant 
(with normal irides) was shot at Elsfield on the 21st. A fine 
adult male Goldeneye and two in brown plumage, together with 
twelve Tufted Ducks, four Pochards, and some thirty or forty 
Wild Ducks, were seen on Clattercutt on the 11th. 

( 289 ) 


By G. W. Griffin, 
U.S. Consul, Sydney, N.S. Wales, 

The pearl-shell fisheries of Torres Strait belong to the colony 
of Queensland, and are situated 1500 miles from Brisbane, and 
more than 2000 miles from Sydney. Torres Strait is about 
eighty miles in width, and separates Queensland from the island 
of New Guinea. The navigation of the Strait, although said to 
be safe and practicable, is in fact very difiScult, on account of the 
innumerable islands, reefs, and shoals scattered about. The chief 
places at which the fisheries are conducted are Wai Weer, Albany 
Island, Jervis Island, Endeavour Strait, Fi'idaj' Island, Prince of 
Wales Islands, and Possession Island. 

Wages of the Men. — A good diver can earn from sixty to 
one hundred and fifty dollars per month. He usually signs 
shii^ping articles for a period not exceeding three years, at a fixed 
sum per month and an interest in the catch or lay. Mr. Ba3'ne, 
of Sydney, the owner of an important station at Prince of Wales 
Islands, who for many years has been engaged in peai'l-shell 
fishing, states that several divers in his employ have earned as 
much as three hundred dollars per month. The divers and crews 
are composed of South Sea Islanders, Malays, and a few Chinese 
and Lascars. The diver is the captain of the boat, and the other 
men obey his orders. The duties of the tender consist in waiting 
on the diver, helping him to dress, and looking after him while in 
the water. The pay of the tender is from ten to twelve dollars 
per month, with a small interest in the catch, generally from one- 
sixtieth to one-eightieth part of the value of the shells. Each of 
the vessels generally has one diver and four tenders, who compose 
the crew. The tenders are engaged on regular shipping articles, 
and are paid off like any other merchant seamen. Mr. Henry M. 
Chester, the resident magistrate at Thursday Island, says, in a 
recent report on the fisheries, that the natives are never over- 
worked, and that they are always well fed and kindly treated. 
He further says that payment is usually made them in blankets, 
clothing, knives, hatchets, and beads, and that whenever they are 

- Reprinted from the 'Bulletin U.S. Fish Commission,' vol. vi. (1887), 
pp. 433—435. 


dissatisfied with what they receive they seek other employment. 
Mr. Chester is of opinion that the competition for their services 
is of such a character as to secure for them fair treatment. All 
the available adult population of the island are employed as 
swimming divers, under the " Masters and Servants Act," and 
while their pay is small, it is made in the presence of the local 
authorities, and all the old men, women, and children receive food 
in seasons of scai'city. Mr. Chester admits, however, that the 
occupation of a diver is dangerous, and not at all conducive to 
longevity, but adds that the loss of life among the natives from 
such causes is more than counterbalanced by the abundant 
supply of wholesome food given them, and by the decrease in 
infanticide and other savage practices to which they were formerly 

Methods of Fishing. — The method pursued in pearl fishing 
is for a number of vessels to start out together and fish on the 
same ground. Each vessel carries supplies to last a fortnight. 
When in about eight fathoms of water, if the tide is slack, the 
diver will jump overboard. His boots are heavily weighted with 
lead, so as to hasten his descent. Upon reaching the bottom he 
walks leisurely along until he comes to a patch of shells ; then 
he signals to the boat to cast anchor. He carries with him a 
sack or bag to hold the shells, and as soon as it is filled it is 
lifted up, emptied out, and sent down to him again, he being able 
to remain under water several hours at a time. Some divers 
remain down from nine o'clock in the morning until five in the 
afternoon. The Pearl-oysters lie on the ground, with the shells 
partly open, and great care is required in handling them, for if 
touched in the wrong way they will close upon the hand like a 
vice. Accidents of this kind not unfrequently happen to inexpe- 
rienced divers, who are obliged to signal those above to lift them 
up and remove the Pearl-oyster from their hands. The monsoons 
which blow in the Strait from May until the end of September 
are often so severe that boats have to lay up for as much as ten 
days at a time. The average catch for each boat is from one ton 
to a ton and a half shells per month. Unlike the fisheries in 
Cej'lon and the Persian Gulf, there is little or no difficulty in 
collecting the shells, for they either lie loose on the ground or 
are only partially buried in the mud or sand. The fisheries off 
the coast of West Australia, and especially at Shark Bay, produce 


the true Pearl-oyster, Avicula margaritifera. For a long time 
this shell was supposed to be valueless on account of its thin and 
fragile structure, but now there is a great demand for it both in 
America and in Europe. It is especially prized by the French 
and German artists for fine inlaid cabinet work. The young or 
chicken shell is the best, and commands the highest price. When 
the Pearl-oyster is five or six years old the shells become blistered 
and wormy, and it is said the oyster dies about the age of 
seven years. The divers in fishing make no effort to select any 
particular shell, but take every one that they can get, even the 
dead shells, which have the least value of any, on account of 
various blemishes, rottenness, lack of lustre, &c. Pure-white 
silver-edged shells are the best. The oysters in the West 
Australia fisheries are generally obtained by passing an iron 
dredge over the banks, but divers are also employed. Pearl- 
oysters are gregarious in their habits, and whenever one is met 
with it is almost certain that numbers of others will be found in 
the immediate neighbourhood. Divers are expert swimmei's, and 
they go down to a depth of four or five fathoms, where it is said 
some of them can remain two minutes. The occupation is an 
unwholesome one, and soon produces deafness and diseases of 
the chest and lungs. Blood not unfrequently flows from the 
mouth, ears, and nostrils after the usual dip of forty or fifty 
seconds, which is repeated fifty or sixty times a day. The men 
also run the risk of being eaten by Sharks, although death from 
this cause is not apt to occur except in untried fishing-gx'ounds, 
as the noise of the divers is almost certain to drive the Sharks 

The Pearl Stations. — All the pearl-fishing stations in 
Torres Strait bear a close resemblance to one another, and 
consist of a small but nice-looking residence for the manager 
and one of less pretension for the men, a warehouse for storing 
provisions, &c., and several sheds for dr3'ing the shells. Before 
the shells are brought to the station the boats usually run into 
land, and the men open the oysters, take out the pearls, if any, 
and throw the soft parts overboard. The shells are then roughly 
cleaned and stowed under the hatches. At the end of the voyage 
they are taken to the station, where they are counted and 
thoroughly cleaned. The shells are then assorted and dried, and 
after the outer edges are chipped off they are packed in cases, 

292 THE ZOOLOftlST. 

each case weighing from 270 to 300 pounds, and are ready for 
shipment. No systematic effort has yet been made to collect 
pearls at Torres Strait, and such as are found become the 
property of the men, who secrete them in various ways, often by 
swallowing them. Some very fine specimens of pearls about the 
size of a hazel-nut, and of remarkable beauty and clearness, have 
recently found their way to the market from Torres Strait. 
Other specimens of a much larger size have been found there, 
but they were imperfect in shape and colour. 

Formation of Pearls. — In oysters aged four years— which 
are judged by the shells, weight, and appearance — the best pearls 
are found. The shell, like the pearl, is formed by the secretion 
of the animal, and is composed of animal matter and lime. The 
iridescent hues on the inside of the shell are occasioned by the 
edges of the thin, wavy, concentric layers overlapping one another 
and reflecting the light. The minute furrows, containing trans- 
lucent carbonate of lime, produce a series of more or less brilliant 
colours, according to the angle at which the light falls upon them. 
Occasionally some of the finest pearls are found loose in the shell. 
As many as one hundred pearls have been found in one oyster, 
but of little or no value. The pearls of the young oyster are 
yellow, and in the older oyster are of a pinkish hue. 

The Use of Pearl-shells. — The pearl-shells shipped from 
Australia to the United States and Europe are used principally 
for the manufacture of knife-handles, shirt-buttons, &c. Con- 
siderable quantities are also used for papier-mache and other 
ornamental work. The pearl buttons, shirt-studs, &c., now made 
in the United States are said to be the best and cheapest in the 
world — a fact due in great measure to the care used in selecting 
the material and to the improved methods of cutting. 


To purify Water in an Aquarium. — In fresh-water aquaria the 
introduction of a few pond-snails (such as Planorbis corneus, Pcdudina 
vivipara, Limnaia stagnalis, L. aiiricularia, &c.), \vhich scour the inner 
surface of the glass, is tolerably effective ; but a better plan is suggested 
by a writer in the ' Norsk Fiskeritidende,' who recommends that to every 
100 grammes of water there should be added 4 drops of a solution of 
1 gramme of salicylic acid in 300 grammes of water. A gramme is equal 


to rather more than 15 grains (apothecaries' weight), 480 grains to the 
ounce, and as a gallon of water weighs 10 lbs. or 70,000 grains, we get 
1500 grs. : 70,000 grs. : : 4 drops : 186f drops; or, roughly speaking, we 
may add for every gallon of water in the aquarium 186 drops (or one 
dessert-spoonful) of the solution recommended. This recipe, it is said, will 
keep the water fresh for three months without renewal. 


The Cost of Rabbit Destruction in Australia. — The Hon. J. Salamon 
I'ecently stated, in the Legislative Council of Sydney, that up to that time 
7,853,787 Rabbits had been destroyed and paid for at a cost of £301,49^. 
This represents the very large sum of Hid. per rabbit, and, adding to this 
a proper proportion of the bonuses paid by stock-breeders, farmers, and 
others, each Rabbit killed is found to have cost about Is. 3d. In other 
words, it costs as much, or more, to kill a Rabbit in AustraUa as to buy 
one in England. 

On the Bats found in Merionethshire. — The following notes on the 
Bats inhabiting this part of Merionethshire may prove useful to those who 
ai'e interested in the distribution of the British species. Up to the present 
time I have obtained specimens of six species, five of which occur more or 
less commonly, though none of them are very abundant. The sixth, the 
Lesser Horse-shoe Bat, is very sparsely distributed, although it can scarcely 
be called rare. 

(1). Vespenigo noctula. — The Noctule is a common species, although it 
seems not to have been previously recorded from any part of Wales. It 
frequents most of the wooded parts of the district, especially such as have 
the hill-sides covered with oak trees. I have observed it plentifully in fine 
weather flying over the extensive marshes near Port Madoc. 

(2). Vespenigo plpistrellus. — This bat is not nearly so abundant as in 
most parts of England, and, except in the immediate vicinity of houses, is 
probably outnumbered by several other species. Although the smallest of 
the British bats, the Pipistrelle frequently preys on rather large insects ; 
the crane-fly, Tipula oleracea, commonly known as " daddy-longlegs," 
apparently forms a considerable portion of its food. 

(3). Vespertilio daubentonii. — This is a common species in those 
localities where it occurs ; but, from the nature of its haunts, it might 
easily be passed over unless sptscially looked for. It frequents pools of 
stagnant water, or slow-runuiug rivers, giving a decided preference to the 
latter. On any still warm night it may be seen flying slowly and steadily 
as close us possible to the surface of the water, into which it frequently dips 
its nose, probably for the purpose of taking some floating insect. The cry 
of Daubenton's Bat is very weak and shrill, sometimes prolonged into a 
6ort of chatter. 


(4). Vespertilio mystacinus. — The Whiskered Bat is probably the most 
abundant species in this district, being found in all sorts of situations, in 
company with the Pipistrelle, which it very much resembles in some of its 
habits. It differs considerably, however, in its choice of a hunting-ground 
and in its flight, which is slow and steady as in F. daubentonii. The 
Whiskered Bat comes abroad earlier in the evening than the last-named 
species, and usually selects for its hunting-ground the sheltered ends of a 
high hedge or plantation, or even a cliff, along which it flies to and fro, 
seldom rising as high as the tops of the trees or rocks nearest to it. When 
cri'ssing an open space it generally keeps close to the ground. I have never 
observed this species frequenting the open places in woods of which the 
Pipistrelle is very fond. 

(6). Plecotiis auritus. — Next to F. mystacinus this appeal's to be the 
commonest bat in the district. Early in April last I observed a number of 
Long-eared Bats frequenting a group of three tall silver-fir trees standing 
close together among stunted oak and hazel bushes. On warm nights these 
trees appeared full of bats, sometimes flying with the greatest rapidity 
through the branches and sometimes hovering like great moths at the 
extremities of the twigs. On going underneath the trees the bats presented 
a still more curious sight : generally upwards of a score might be seen 
moving about in the space of a few feet. They appeared frequently to 
come in contact with the branches, but whether by accident or not I was 
unable to ascertain. [They were doubtless taking insects oS" the leaves. — 
Ed.] One which I shot at this place had a small leaf of the silver-fir in 
its mouth. The food of the Long-eared Bat consists chiefly of moths, and 
I believe small caterpillars are also taken by it. 

(0). Rhinolophiis Idpposideros. — The Lesser Horse-shoe Bat, though 
generally distributed, is by no means a common species. It is apparently 
strictly nocturnal in its habits, never coming abroad till it is quite dark, 
and I can only recall one or two instances in which I have seen it on the 
wing. During the day it may be seen hanging from the roofs of caves and 
houses, always in the darkest part. I once saw several bats of this species 
in the lower level of an old lead-mine, to gain access to- which they must 
have descended a shaft fifty feet deep into an upper level, and after 
traversing this, have passed through a small hole in the floor to the place 
where I found them. On the few occasions on which I have seen this bat 
abroad it was flying slowly close to the ground, somewhat in the manner 
of F. iiiystacinus. — G. H. Caton Haigh (Aber-ia, Penrhyndendraeth, 

Cliff-birds at Dover. — During the first week of July the fine chalk 
cliffs between Dover, the South Foreland, and St. Margaret's Bay, present 
a very animated appearance. Hundreds of Herring Gulls are nesting there, 


and the youug ones may be seen about their nests, attended by the 
parent birds. For some reason or other — probably for the want of suitable 
ledges — the Herring Gulls do not appear to nest on the abrupt faces of 
the cliffs, but in spots where land-slips have occurred, and where slopes 
more or less covered with verdure, but at a very steep incline, have formed 
amid the cliffs. In selecting such breeding-places the Herring Gulls have, 
as might be expected, selected the more inaccessible slopes, and as far as 
I could judge, walking below the cliffs, I did not notice any occupied 
nesting-places that an ordinary rock-climber should attempt without the 
aid of a rope from above. Great mortahty occurs amongst the young gulls 
from the nests being placed on these steep inclines, for the young tempted 
from their nests lose their foothold on the slippery grass, and slide and fall 
on the beach below, where they are abandoned by the parent birds. In the 
first week of July, this year, my companion and 1 counted over fifty dead 
young ones in the course of our walk along the base of the cliffs, and we 
saw two young Herring Gulls lose their foothold and come down, trying to 
save themselves with expanded feet and their little apologies for wings 
extended ; they reached the beach in safety, where we secured them, took 
them home, and they are now flourishing in my companion's garden. 
There is, however, one exception to the general rule of these gulls breeding 
on the cliff-slopes, and that is a few pairs making their nests on the gravel 
beach at the very base of the cliffs just above the line of ordinary high 
water. The spots available are very few and restricted in area, and as they 
can be reached at low-tide these nests are invariably plundered of the eggs. 
My companion informed me that during the past seven years he had on 
several occasions taken eggs from these nests on the shore. He is inclined 
to think that the very great increase in the number of the Herring Gulls 
since the Wild Birds Preservation Act came into force has led to the 
crowding of the securer breeding stations, and that the gulls that nest on 
the beach are the younger ones which have been unable to find nesting 
room in the safer positions. It was satisfactory to learn, from my com- 
panion's personal observation, that the number of Herring Gulls had 
largely increased during the past ten years. I should estimate roughly 
that not less than four hundred pairs of Herring Gulls nest in the cliffs 
between Dover and St. Margaret's Bay. To ornithologists who reside in 
the neighbourhood of London, and who may not have the opportunity of 
visiting the more distant great rock nurseries of sea-fowl along our coasts, 
I recommend a visit to these chffs, but care must be taken to time it with 
due consideration of the tides, for a mistake might lead to an awkward 
predicament, as at high-water the sea rises to the cliff, except in a few spots 
where some of the gulls, as I have already mentioned, make their nests on 
the gravel, A visitor to the cliff immediately below the South Foreland 
Lighthouses will be further gratified by finding that a considerable colony of 


Guillemots make it their breeding-station. It is a very bold perpendicular 
headland, and I should consider to be only accessible to experienced 
cragsmen with proper appliances. To stand below this cliff and watch the 
Guillemots shoot down from their lofty ledges to the sea is a very pretty 
sight. My eye could not discern any movement in their wings ; the feet 
stretched out behind seemed to be the guiding power. I picked up one 
little downy black young one at the base of the cliff, which shows that the 
Guillemots breed there. A pair of Peregrine Falcons nest in the cliffs 
between Dover Castle and the South Foreland, and have, I believe, reared 
their young in safety this season. It has been a frequent source of pleasure 
to me during the past spring to visit these falcons' breeding-place, as 
I invariably saw one, sometimes both birds. The tiercel was wont to 
resent my intrusion, by flying overhead and screaming querulously ; at times 
he would "wait on" within forty or fifty yards of me. These birds have 
shown me some good flights at pigeons this year. I was at first somewhat 
puzzled where these pigeons came from, because all I saw flown at were 
evidently home bred birds, and the falcons always intercepted them as they 
were flying over the Channel. Placed on the edge of the cliff, I have 
watched a pigeon flying with steady rapid flight over the Downs, heading 
southward across the sea. As the pigeon passes over the cliffs the falcon 
dashes out seaward from under the cliff, the pigeon sees its enemy and 
rises high in air, the falcon mounts as well ; to the inexperienced eye the 
hawk appears to be flying in an opposite direction to the pigeon, but when 
he has gained the proper altitude down he swoops like a bolt from the sky, 
but the pigeon eludes him by dropping with incredible rapidity to the sea. 
Again the falcon rises, its evident intention being to drive the pigeon to the 
shelter of the Kentish cliffs; the pigeon, seeing its course across Channel 
barred l)y its mortal foe, seeks the shelter of the undercliff. The falcon 
now has it all its own way, and the wings and skeletons of pigeons which 
I have found at the base of the cliffs show what heavy toll the Peregrines 
levy on the Belgian and French homing-pigeons returning to the Continent ; 
for in several instances I found the name of the owner stamped upon the 
inside of the primary wing-feathers of the pigeons, which proved to be 
trained birds belonging to Belgian owners. — H. W. Feilden (Dover). 

Ornithological Notes from Mayo and Sligo. — Owing to the low 
temperature of the spring months, our summer birds were late and very 
irregular in the dates of their appearance in this locality, for with the excep- 
tion of the Sandwich Tern and Whimbrel, none were up to their usual 
time of arrival. The Sandwich Terns were seen on March 28th, but I did 
not see or hear a Common Tern until May 15th. Of our land-birds the 
Chiffchaff, as usual, was the first to make itself known — on April 22nd. 
This bird, from the peculiarity of its song, attracted my attention at once, 
for at first I thought that a Willow Wren and Chiffchaff were sinking in 


defiance of each other, — as many small birds do at times, — and I could not 
be certain that these birds were not present until I caught siglit of the 
CbifFchaff iu a thorn-hedge, and had closely watched it for some time. It 
began its song with the first two soft notes of the Willow Wren and ended 
with the last two notes of the Chiffchaff — a combination of song that 
puzzled me, for although I had been acquainted with both the notes of the 
Chiffchaff and Willow Wren since I was quite a boy, yet I never heard 
anything similar to it before, for the notes of both birds are so unlike and 
are so well marked that no one can mistake one for tlie other. I w-as so 
struck with its strange song that I intended to shoot and examine the bird, 
but on the following day, when I went to look for it, it had disappeared 
from the plantations, and it was a fortnight after before I heard another 
individual singing in the usual manner. I should be glad to hear if any of 
your readers ever heard a ChifFchaff sing as the one above mentioned. On 
April 23rd I heard the first Willow Wren, but the cold weather stopped 
its song for several days, until the 29th, upon which day I heard some 
Whimbrels. The Cuckoo was not heard until May 2nd, and Swallows 
appeared on the same day. The Corn Crake was not heard in this neigh- 
bourhood until May 12th, nor Whitethroats until the 15th, and the first 
Spotted Flycatcher on the 22nd ; the poor bird appeared very uncomfortable 
and cold-looking, owing to the stormy weather and heavy hail-storms of the 
previous four days, when the thermometer fell to 39° on the nights of the 
19th and 20th. However, as if to make up for the low temperature of 
April and first half of May, the weather has now become very warm, the 
thermometer all through June never having been below 70°, by day, 
and on the 15th, 16th, and 17th it has been up to 74°, 79°, and 81°. On 
the 17th I was at Bartragh, and saw about a dozen Godwits, but all were 
in the pale plumage of winter, none exhibiting any red feathers. I saw 
some young Ring Plovers nearly able to fly, running about near their 
nesting-places, and as I was walking along the sands by the open bay at 
the north side of the island I was surprised at seeing a large flock of Red- 
breasted Mergansers, at least a hundred birds, closely packed together, 
swimming just outside the surf. There were very few birds with dark 
heads in the flock, the majority appearing to be females or immature males. 
It was a most unusual sight to me, for I never before observed Mergansers 
at this season flock on the sea; indeed the most I have ever come across 
would be perhaps half a dozen individuals fishing on the inside channels. 
It is probable that the Shoveller Duck nests regularly every season on Lough 
Conn, for a few years ago I saw an old male flying about a reedy bay on 
the lake near the old abbey of Errew, and from its not wishing to leave the 
place when disturked, but continuing to fly round, I am sure it had its 
mate hatching close by; and this season, near the same part of the lake, 
a pair were seen and the male shot some time last April. Many Wild 


Ducks, as well as Red-breasted Mergansers, breed on the islands in the 
lake, and there are several colonies of Black-headed Gulls and Common 
Terns also. Redshanks regularly frequent the lake to nest on the islands, 
and I have seen their eggs brought from an island near Cloghans. — 
Robert Warren (Moyview, Ballina). 

Ornithological Notes from Breconshire.— Your readers will be pleased 
to hear that the Kite [Mllvus regalis) is slowly increasing in this county. 
I not unfrequently see one soaring steadily along in places where years ago 
such a sight would have been a wonder. One of my boys, a good observer, 
tells me that in October last he saw five in one spot soaring in circles 
higher and higher, until they flew in a straight line towards the Beacons. 
They were probably two old birds and three young ones. A pair now 
frequent Vennyvach "Wood, the first time for certainly a number of years. 
This increase may be accounted for in two ways, viz., the almost total 
absence of trapping on the moors and in the wilder and more secluded parts 
of the county, and express protection of them by one of our largest hill- 
owners. Woodcocks were fairly plentiful last winter, e;5pecially (as is 
always the case here) in November and February. Wildfowl of all kinds 
were scarce. Two Scaup Ducks, Fuligula marila, were seen on the Gludy 
Lake, but I heard of nothing else worth mentioning. Last autumn my boy 
saw a male Sparrowhawk attack a Jay ; they were rolling over and over on 
the ground ; he picked the Jay up, but it had very little life left ; the hawk 
flew off and pitched in a small oak tree close by, and then flew back to 
within a few yards of the dead Jay, evidently leaving it with great 
reluctance ; the Jay had made a good fight for his life, as appeared by the 
numerous feathers scattered about. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is 
certainly increasing, while the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is decreasing in 
about the same proportion ; this is singular and at present inexplicable, but 
the fact remains. I also see the Stock Dove, Columba mnas, more frequently 
than I did formerly. The Curlew, Numenius arquatus, appeared as usual 
about the middle of March ; on the 23rd I saw a pair near Llangorse Lake, 
and two had been seen near here a week earlier ; it keeps its time of coming 
with wonderful regularity, but now breeds in marshy places on the lowlands 
as well as on the hill, one of the good results of the enforcement of the 
Wild Birds Protection Act. A friend living on the borders of the county 
writes me on March 98th that "The Raven is sitting in Craiglas, and, I 
should say, nearly hatching. The Dipper, Cinclus aquaticus, is also 
nesting." The last-named bird builds very early about here; one, with 
five eggs, sat on about a week, being found on the first Sunday in March, 
in the middle of that heavy snow-storm. Unfortunately the Barn Owl is 
getting very scarce; I never see one now, although my friend above quoted 
writes me on the same date, "I am glad to tell you that the White or Barn 
Owl is again to be seen about; they are very harmless, and it is a great 


pity people are so ignorant about them "; in which expression of opinion I 
quite agree. — E. Cambridge Phillips (The Elms, Brecon, S. Wales). 

Unusual Nesting-site for the Wryneck. — In the last number of ' The 
Zoologist ' (p. 265) I recorded the fact of a Tree Sparrow nesting in a mole- 
burrow in a brick-earth cutting in Kent. On July 9th I was examining the 
holes in the same cutting on the chance of finding a late nest, when I heard 
a sound, not unlike that made by shaking a handful of silver coins, issuing 
from one of the holes ; after half an hour's hard work I was able to insert 
my hand, when I discovered that the hole was occupied by five full-fledged 
young Wrynecks. There appeared to be no nest, or, if there was, it was so 
completely concealed under a mass of malodorous guano that I did not dis- 
cover it. T have never met with any recorded instance of the Wryneck 
breeding in a hole in the ground, and it may therefore be of interest to 
publish the fact. — A. G. Butler (Natural History Museum). 

Hawfinch in Yorkshire. — This interesting bird is yearly becoming 
more common in this neighbourhood. There are at least half a dozen 
places where it nests, and at least three regularly. Mr. Storey, of Pateley 
Bridge, obtained a nest in Nidderdale last year, the first record of its nesting 
in the Dale ; the birds have again nested this year. During the winter 
months an unusual number frequented the gardens in the town and on the 
outskirts. I am inclined to think that they had all been bred in the 
neighbourhood. On one estate great care is taken to protect them. The 
head gardener, a very intelligent man, instead of shooting them, as his pre- 
decessors had done, protects them carefully, but places nets over his fruit, 
and thus prevents any complaints being made as to the damage done by the 
birds to the fruit. — Riley Fortune (Harrogate). 

The Song of the Chaffinch.— In a recent number of ' The Ibis' (1887, 
p. 194), Mr. W. C. Tait remarks that in Portugal the Chaffinch begins to 
sing (as with us in England) in February ; he adds that there it recom- 
mences to sing in September, and that he " has heard it as late as 
November 27th." I may be mistaken, but to my recollection the Chaffinch 
rarely sings during the autumn months in Great Britain. At any rate 
I have only a single record of the fact among my field notes, i.e., on the 
loth of September, J 882, I heard a Chaffinch singing lustily in a garden 
near Carlisle. 1 should be glad to learn from other readers of ' The 
Zoologist' whether our home Chaffinches are autumn songsters. If such 
is the case, it is curious that the fact should be unnoticed in our text-books. 
— H. A. Macpherson. 

Black Tern near Gloucester. — On May 21st a specimen of the Black 
Tern, Sterna nigra, was shot at the "Lower Parting," on the Severn, just 
below Gloucester, and has been set up by a local taxidermist, in whose 
hands I saw it. It is an adult female bird, in perfect breeding plumage. 


The only other recorded occurrence of the species in this county I know 
of is one reported from Avonmouth by Mr. Wheeler in the ' Proceedings 
of the Bristol Naturalists' Society' (vol. i., part 3). — H. W. Marsden 
(37, Midland Road, Gloucester.). 

Mimicry of the Corn Bunting. — When birdsnesting on the Upper 
Rhine, near Mulheini, I found the Corn Bunting abundantly established 
on the lower grounds. During great heat the males sang incessantly (their 
mates were sitting), perching indifferently on the ground, on low bushes 
and rails, on the tops of walnut trees, and on the telegraph-wires. Their 
song seemed to be identical with the dialect of those I had met with at 
hotne, with a single exception. On June 19th a Corn Bunting perching on 
a telegraph-wire poured forth a liquid and sweet song, embodying the notes 
of the Crested Lark, which latter species is resident, though scarce, in that 
district. That the Reed Bunting has a good ear and can be trained to sing 
the Sky Lark's song I have recorded elsewhere, but I never suspected the 
Corn Bunting of a similar capacity. — H. A. Macpherson. 

Spring Moult of the Wheatear.— It appears that Wheatears occa- 
sionally, if not always, moult their tail-quills after their arrival in this 
country on the spring migration. Many examples procured at that season 
are found to have the distal portion of these feathers of a brownish black, 
more or less worn at the extremity, the broad buff edges or tips carried on 
their departure after the autumn moult having either entirely or almost 
worn off; some again have broad, almost white, tips to the feathers, these 
being at the same time black and glossy ; others have mixed tails, consisting 
of feathers in both conditions. A male in my possession, shot in Sussex on 
the 7th April, has the quills of the wings and tails very brown those of the 
latter being dark to the extremity, the buff feather edgings having worn off. 
Another, procured on March 18th, has blacker feathers (probably to be 
accounted for in this case by a difference of age), but still untipped. Of 
some three examples from North Wales, shot on April 29tli, one is a 
female having three new tipped feathers ; the others are males, one having 
an entirely old untipped tail, the other one new tipped feather, and all the 
rest old. A Sussex male, 7th April, has the first four on the right side 
tipped light, and another from the same locality, I9th March, which still 
retains much of tlie brown edgings to the dorsal plumage, has all the tail- 
feathers tipped, with the exception of the third and fourth on the right side. 
A third male, 5th May, has the four outside feathers on the right side dark 
to the extremities, the colour being rather brown and the feathers old and 
worn in appearance; the rest shorter than these, blacker in tint, new and 
glossy in appearance, and all tipped with white. This last bird was clearly 
moulting its tail, and I am inclined to think that all the examples showing 
mixed tails were similarly engaged at the time they were procured. The 


old and worn appearance of the untipped feathers, and the glossy new-looking 
condition and blacker tints of those beaming Hght tips, is common to all the 
examples I have examined.— Olivkr V. Aplin (Bloxham, near Banbury). 
Notes from Oxfordshire. — On the 3rd of December last a friend of 
mine shot a Snipe, which fell into the river and which began swimming 
towards the shore. Almost simultaneously with the shot my friend heard 
a noise behind him, and looking round observed a Heron rising from a very 
small pond which stands between this house and the River Isis. After the 
bird had ascended some sixty or eighty feet, he was seen to drop something 
from his beak to the ground. My friend went up to the spot, and found a 
Pike of over a pound in weight, alive, and apparently none the worse for 
the treatment it had received from the Heron. After the fish had been 
picked up, the Heron returned to the spot, evidently much disconcerted by 
the disappearance of its prey ; as for the fish, it was brought home, and 
weighed, and eaten ; it tasted somewhat muddy, but the flesh was firm and 
good. On several occasions a Fox has been observed located in a tree, a 
willow, close to the river ; when the South Oxon Hounds came here some 
short time since, Reynard was knocked out of his retreat, and after a run 
across country he returned to his stronghold, which he still continues to 
occupy. Not very far from the same spot, and in a thorn bush fourteen feet 
from the ground, a Moorhen has made her nest, where she is diligently 
sitting ; it is to be hoped she will bring off her brood. Birds and beasts of 
all sorts have but a poor chance of escape along the banks of this river, in 
spite of any assistance my keepers may be able to afford them here. 
There are other enemies, however, besides dogs and bipeds, which make 
the multiplication of birds somewhat precarious. I saw an example of this 
on May 26th last. Close in front of the house, where every sort of bird 
comes to claim protection, a Thrush had just hatched out her young; she 
had a neighbour, a Jackdaw, who was engaged in the same pursuit in an 
elm tree hard by. The Jackdaw had doubtless been anticipating the ad- 
vantage of having such succulent young neighbours, and I happened to be 
looking out of the window when he made his assault. He lit on the grass 
plot and stalked in a dignified manner to the Juniperus thurifera, where 
the Thrushes were ; he flew up to the nest, and brought down one of the 
little delicacies in his claws. The terror and despair of the poor parents 
was pitiable. They perched on an iron railing over and above where the 
operation was going on, and watched the dismemberment and the deglutition 
of their offspring in helpless "agony. Ever and anon they both flew at the 
monster; the Jackdaw only deigned to turn his head and give a warning 
look, when the affrighted parents retired. One after another the brood was 
disposed of, and then the marauder disappeared. The poor Thrushes flew 
down to the ground when he was gone, but nothing was left. It is possible 
that the nest of a Sedge Warbler was robbed by a similar bird ; one day 


the nest contained three eggs of the Sedge Warbler and one egg of a 
Cuckoo; on the following day a portion of the shells of the eggs was alone 
remaining. It is worthy of remark that two Cuckoo's eggs were found in 
the nest of a Hedgesparrow, together with four of the Hedgesparrow's own 
eggs. A curious fate attended a Kingfisher which had built a nest in the 
bank of a small pond in the Park. The pond stands close to the head 
keeper's house ; there are usually Ducks upon it, and the Deer and Scotch 
cattle are in the habit of going there to drink. The nest was known to be 
there, and the bird had been frequently seen going to the nest. One 
morning a person visiting the place found the bird with nest and eggs 
crushed as flat as a pancake, and a mark of the expanded foot of a bullock 
was very evidently imprinted on the surrounding mud. That Skye cattle 
are not entirely innocuous to birds is further proved by the fate of a Swan 
which died here in May last. These cattle, when they have calves, are apt to 
become very fierce. In this case a heifer had become troublesome, and had 
frightened several persons in the park. It was being driven near a small 
lake, and, finding a Swan on the bank, it deliberately tossed it up into the 
air. The Swan lived for several weeks, but at last died from the effects 
of the treatment. — G. W. Harcourt (Nuneham Park, Oxou). 

Grouse Disease. — With reference to my remarks on this subject in the 
last number of ' The Zoologist ' (p. 965), I have received the following 
interesting communication from Lord Walsingham: — "June 9th, 1887. 
I read with much interest the extract from ' The Zoologist ' which you 
were good enough to send me. Among the Grouse which you examined, I 
should be inclined to think (c) was the only one that had the real Grouse- 
disease — namely, that in which Cobbold's threadworm, Strongijlus per- 
c/racilis, was found in the cseca. It has certainly occurred in some places 
in the South of Scotland and in the North of England. The Duke of 
Roxburgh told me that, had he been asked to do so earlier, he could have 
sent up any number of birds from Berwickshire, where the disease has been 
very destructive. It has now ceased in places where it was most severe, but 
it must have been very partially distributed. My moors in Yorkshire have 
been quite free from the true epidemic, although a few birds died from some 
cause or otlier after last shooting season : perhaps a stray shot may have 
accounted for one or two. As I am on this subject, I send you two memo- 
randa made after a conversation with Lord Ormathwaite a few days ago, one 
of which bears upon the question of featherless legs. He tells me that in 
August, 1872, — the great Grouse year, — when shooting at High Force, 
he well remembers Raiue, the head keeper, after a day in which nearly 
1000 brace were killed, holding up a fat plump bird, one of two killed 
that day, ivith no feathers on the legs, and saying, ' I shall not see 
any of you gentlemen here for three years to come.' This prophecy 
of tlic sweeping effects of the disease which be had detected was fullilled 


to the letter. Lord Ormathwaite also tells me that he once asked 
his old stalker, Donald Fraser, at Fannick, Ross-shire, how long ago 
he had first known the Grouse to die of disease in any large numbers. 
His answer was that ' he well remembered when he first knew it. He 
was herding cows in the Reay country, and saw packs (probably meaning 
large numbers) of Grouse all lying dead ; and when he came home and 
told the people what he had seen, the same day the news of the battle 
of Waterloo arrived.' So here is pretty good evidence that the disease, or 
at least some very destructive epidemic, is no new thing. Moreover, this 
fixes the time of year as the same in which the present modified outbreak 
commenced." — F. Jeffrey Bell. [See Dr. Klein's Report on the Grouse 
Disease, in ' The Field ' of July 23rd ult.— Ed.] 

Hybrid Greenfinch and Linnet. — The interesting notes on hybrid 
Greenfinches furnished to ' The Zoologist,' by my friend Mr. J. H. Gurney, 
jun., tempt me to record the fact that such a hybrid was interviewed by 
myself and two ornithological friends, while nesting on a moor near 
Aberdeen on June 29th. The bird in question was feeding, when first 
observed, upon a patch of growing turnips, of which some trusses bore 
yellow flowers, while others had run to seed. This hybrid was feeding so 
greedily upon the green seeds that we approached witliin a couple of yards 
before he took wing. He was solitary, and had probably been hatched 
the previous year. We revisited the spot the following day, but he had 
departed. — H. A. Macphekson. 

Redstart laying spotted Eggs.— Never having seen, or heard of, 
a spotted egg of the Redstart, I was very much surprised last summer at 
taking a distinctly spotted variety of the egg of this bird. The hen 
Redstart was seen leaving the nest, which was built in a stone wall. This 
summer I have again taken a spotted egg ; both cock and hen Redstart seen 
continually. In both cases the greater number of the eggs in the set were 
quite spotless. The markings are sparsely distributed over the broad end, 
as in eggs of the Wren. The two localities in which the nests were found 
are over four miles distant from one another, so I do not think it likely 
that the eggs were laid by the same bird. — E. W. H. Blagg (Cheadle, 

[Eggs of the Redstart " with a few faint reddish specks " are noticed 
in the fourth edition of Yarrell's ' British Birds,' vol. i. p. 331.— Ed.] 

Hawfinch nesting in Kent.— Several young Hawfinches were seen 
flying about in the Cemetery here in June. One of the old birds was with 
them. — Henry Lamb (Maidstone). 

Girl Bunting breeding near Godalming.— It will perhaps interest 
your readers to know of the breeding of the Girl Bunting in this locality. 
About the middle of May a nest was shown me by the caretaker of the 


Godalming Cemetery, which adjoins this house ; it was built in a small 
yew tree close to one of the paths, and was composed of bents, mixed with 
a little moss, and was lined with finer bents and some hair ; it contained 
four eggs of a dull white, tinged with grey, and streaked and blotched with 
liver-brown. Tlie nest was interfered with, one of the eggs was taken, and 
the old birds forsook it. Having become aware of this I removed the nest, 
but I was able to save only one of the eggs, which had been sat upon for 
some days, and that one is in but a shattered condition. Since then the 
same pair of birds have built a second nest, about a hundred yards distant 
from the first, among some twigs growing out of the trunk of an elm tree, 
and a foot and a half from the ground. When I first saw it (on June 18th) 
it had four eggs which were almost ready to hatch ; last week there were 
four young ones in the nest, but yesterday morning (June 27th) I found 
that two of the four— the cause I know not — were dead. I may add ihat 
botli ray son and I have spent some time in watching the old birds. Each 
takes a share in feeding the young; when alarmed each utters a single 
note which is repeated several times ; also, when disturbed, the female 
flutters along the ground as if hurt. The birds are not at all shy, but 
continue to carry food — which appears to consist of caterpillars — to their 
young whilst we are standing a few yards off. I observe that in the second 
edition of Yarrell's ' British Birds,' it is stated that the Girl Bunting has 
been found in Surrey, near Godalming ; and in the last edition of the same 
work it is said to breed in Surrey ; but I have not noticed any specified 
instance of its doing so, and that is why I send you this account. The 
second nest is precisely similar to the first. It may be well to add, 
again, that I have been for many years a diligent observer of birds and of 
their habits, and that I am quite certain the bird in question is the Girl 
Bunting, for with careful scrutiny of its plumage it is impossible to 
mistake it. — Henry Benson (Rector of Farncombe). 

Curious site for Chiffchaff's Nest.— On the 4th of June last I found 
a nest of the Chiffchaff, containing three eggs, built in a holly-bush quite 
five feet from the ground. The nest was very loosely built, and came to 
grief before the young birds were reared. The old Chiffchaff was seen 
and clearly identified. — E. W. H. Blago (Cheadle, Staffordshire). 

Long-eared Owl laying in Rook's Nest. — In March, 1886, a friend of 
mine, while collecting a few Rook's eggs near Barnborough, Northumber- 
land, found a nest containing three eggs of the Rook and one of the Long- 
eared Owl. There can be no doubt about the latter, as the old Owl was 
seen to fly from the nest. — Riley Fortune (Harrogate). 

The Missel Thrush occasionally a Bird of Prey.— With reference 
to the note under this heaiiing (p. 208), I may mention that I obtained a 
pair of Missel Thrushes from a nest in May last year, and one of the 


birds — a handsome cock — is still in my possession. I have been in the 
habit of giving him all my young dead Canaries, if only two or three days 
old, and he has eaten them with considerable relish, bolting them whole : 
the young Thrushes being larger could not be so readily swallowed, and 
therefore would necessarily have to be pulled to pieces. — A. G. Butlek 
(British Museum Nat. Hist.). 

Nesting of the Common Sandpiper.— Although the following facts 
are mostly at second-hand, they may be of interest to some readers of 
' The Zoologist.' The Common Sandpiper, T. Iiypoleucus, disappears from 
the banks of the Severn in this neighbourhood about the middle or end of 
May, and I hear that it also leaves the lower reaches of the Wye — say from 
Ross downwards — about the same time. It is not rare during early spring 
on both rivers. Doubtless these birds move up-stream to breed on the 
banks of the higher waters and tributaries of both tliese rivers. It is found 
breeding annually on the banks of the Lugg ; and Dr. Williams, of Kings, 
laud, has this year brought a somewhat remarkable fact to my notice. The 
nest is usually placed on the shingle and mud thrown up by the river, and 
which becomes covered with docks and other coarse herbage. During the 
last two seasons all the eggs have been destroyed by floods, and this year 
a complete change of habit has taken place. Every nest except one — 
possibly that of a new arrival in the district — has been placed out of reach 
of any possible flood, some being sixty yards from the water, others in a 
wood on a steep hillside, and one even placed in the head of a pollard 
willow. An Ayrshire correspondent has sent me some fine clutches of only 
three eggs each, and he suggests the fact of four (the usual number) not 
being laid may be attributed to stormy weather. Has this been noticed 
elsewhere? — H. W. Marsden (Gloucester). 

Note on the Ring Ouzel. — On June 13tb, at Castleton (Derbyshire), 
hearing a great noise from two Ring Ouzels, I watched them going to a 
nest, from which one of them (the other looking on from close by) twice 
took eggs to the grass near, where he began to eat them. I afterwards 
climbed to the patch of grass, and found one of the eggs finished, the other 
(quite fresh) only half eaten. The eggs in question were either Blackbird's 
or Ring Ouzel's. I was unable to reach the nest. As this fact of Ring 
Ouzels robbing a nest for the sake of the eggs is is strange to me, I thought 
it worth communication. — Alfred F. Buxton (5, Hyde Park Street, W.). 

A new Egg-drill. — Several correspondents having written to me 
asking about the egg-drill mentioned in ' The Zoologist' for June, I beg to 
state that the full address of the firm from whom it may be obtained is 
"The Dental Manufacturing Company," 6 to 10, Lexington Street, Golden 
Square, London, W. In ordering they should ask for No. 6.5 in "Ash's 
Catalogue," and particularly mention that it is to be sharp-pointed. They 


charged rae Is. each, and for the instrument with a half-inch diameter, 
which they had especially to make for me, 4s. 6d. — Herbert Langton. 

A singular Bird's Nest.— The ' Continental Times ' of July 13th states 
that a bird's nest, made wholly of long spiral steel shavings, without the 
least particle of vegetable or animal fibre, has been found at Solothurn, 
in Switzerland, the centre of a large watch manufacturing district. It has 
been preserved in the local museum. 

Unusual Site for a Flycatcher's Nest. — The Spotted Flycatcher 
almost invariably makes a nest for itself, but this summer a pair of these 
little birds have hatched out their young in an old Missel Thrush's nest 
here. The site seems to be sufficiently curious to be worth notice. — 
Darell Stephens (Trewornan, Wadebridge). 

Nightingale singing in July.— On the 2nd of July, and again on 
the 8lh, I heard the Nightingale singing on the wooded banks of the 
Medway above Maidstone.— Henry Lamb (Maidstone). 

[This is a late date at which to hear a Nightingale. The song 
generally ceases by the end of the first week in June. The young birds 
being then hatched, the old ones busy themselves in getting food for 
them. — Ed.] 

Coloration of the Viper.— The remarks of my friend Mr. Lodge 
(p, 271) have revived my interest in Vipers, and I should like to express 
my accordance with his view, that the colour of Vipers bears little or no 
relation to the colour of the soil on which they live. In the Forest of 
Fontainbleau, and in Auvergne, a good many Vipers occurred to me some 
years ago. The usual ground-colour was a bronze or olive-brown, and 
I never met with the red variety. But in Auvergne a beautiful French-grey 
variety was found upon the same ground as the bronze examples, and 
seemed almost as abundant. The fact was impressed upon my mind by 
three rather severe bites incurred in the capture of a lively grey specimen. 
This grey variety has never come under my notice in Great Britain. — 
H. A. Macpherson (3, Kensington Gardens Square). 

Mode in which Vipers are killed by the Hedgehog.— M. Ferdinand 
Coste, of Lacanche, in a letter to the French journal ' I'Eleveur,' writes as 
follows : — " Everyone knows that the Hedgehog is a sworn enemy of 
reptiles in general and of the Viper in particular ; but few perhaps are 
aware in what way he contrives to overcome so recalcitrant and dangerous 
an enemy and make a meal of it. My keeper was going his round this 
summer in a wood which is unfortunately infested with Vipers, when he 
espied an enormous one asleep in the sun. He was on the point of killing 
it with a charge of shot, when he perceived a Hedgehog coming cautiously 


over the moss and noiselessly approaching the reptile. He then witnessed 
a curious sight. As soon as the Hedgehog was within reach of his prey 
he seized it by the tail with his teeth, and as quick as thought rolled 
himself into a ball. The Viper, awakened by the pain, at once turned, and 
perceiving his enemy made a terrific dart at him. The Hedgehog did 
not wince. The Viper, infatuated, extends itself, hisses, and twists with 
fearful contortions. In five minutes it is covered with blood, its mouth is 
one large wound, and it lies exhausted on the ground. A few more starts, 
then a last convulsive agony, and it expires. When the Hedgehog 
perceived that it was quite dead he let go his hold, and quietly unrolled 
himself. He was just about to begin his meal and devour the reptile, when 
the sight of my keeper, who had approached during the struggle, alarmed 
him, and he rolled himself up again until the man had retreated into the 
wood. The Hedgehog, then, did not exactly kill the Viper, but compelled 
it to kill itself by darting against his sharp spines." 

Slow-worm attacked by a Missel Thrush.— One day last summer, 
while driving to Dorchester, I noticed a little cloud of dust rising from the 
road. On drawing nearer I saw it was caused by a Missel Thrush, Turdus 
viscivorus, which held a struggling Slow-worm, Anguis fragilis, and was 
pecking at it with all its might and main. When I got quite close, the 
Thrush flew away, and the Slow-worm slowly wriggled off. When searching 
for beetles I have often found Slow-worms under the loose bark of fallen 
trees.— C. W. Dale (Glanville's Wootton, Sherborne). 

Tunny at Penzance.— On July 11th a small Tunny, Orcynus thynnus, 
Day, was brought to me. It measured two feet six inches over all, and 
turned the scale at 20 lbs. It was taken by hand embayed in a salt-water 
pool in the rocks at Newlyn, in this Bay. The stomach was gorged with 
pilchards. The flesh had all the appearance of dark bull-beef. My friends 
and myself dressed portions of it by several methods, with the following 
results: — Stewed, it was delicate and good; broiled, it was coarse, but 
palatable ; baked in oil and vinegar (" marinated "), it was very good. In 
every case the taste of the fish was pronounced to be between that of 
mackerel and salmon, but not so good as either of these fish separately. — 
Thomas Cornish (Penzance). 

A Man killed by a Swordfish. — The schooner 'Venus' is a small 
vessel of about twelve tons, owned and commanded by Franklin D. Lanos- 
ford, of Lanesville, Mass., with a crew of three men, engaged iu the general 
fisheries off the coast of Massachusetts. On August 9th Capt. Langsford 
sailed from home in pursuit of Swordfish. About 11 a.m., when eight 
miles north-east from Halibut Point, in Ipswich Bay, a lish was seen. The 


captain, with one man, taking a dory, gave chase, and soon harpooned the 
fish, throwing over a huoy with a Hne attached to the harpoon, after which 
the fish was left and they returned to the vessel for dinner. About an 
hour later the captain, with one man, again took his dory and went out to 
secure the fish. Picking up the buoy. Captain Langsford took hold of the 
line, pulling his boat toward the Swordfish, which was quite large, and not 
badly wounded. The line was taut as the boat slowly neared the fish, which 
the captain intended to lance, and thus kill it. When near the fish, but 
too far away to reach it with the lance, it quickly turned and rushed at aud 
under the boat, thrusting its sword up through the bottom of the boat 
twenty-three inches. As the fish turned and rushed towards the boat the 
line was suddenly slacked, causing the captain to fall over on his back ; 
and, while he was in the act of rising, the sword came piercing through 
the boat and into his body. At this time another Swordfish was in sight 
near by, and the captain, excited and anxious to secure both, raised himself 
up, not knowing that he was wounded. Seeing the sword, he seized it, 
exclaiming, " We've got Jiim, any way ! " He lay in the bottom of the 
dory, holding fast to the sword, until his vessel came alongside, while the 
fish, being under the boat, could not be reached. Soon the captain said, 
"I think I am hurt, and quite badly." When the vessel arrived he went 
on board, took a few steps and fell, never rising again. The boat and fish 
were soon hoisted on board, when the sword was chopped off to free the 
boat, and the fish was killed on the deck of the vessel. The fish weighed 
245 pounds after its head and tail were cut off and the viscera removed ; 
when alive it weighed something over 300 pounds. Captain Langsford 
survived the injury about three days, dying on August 12th, of peritonitis, 
the sword having penetrated his body to the extent of seven inches, and 
entered the pelvic cavity. The sword has been deposited in the U.S. 
National Museum. — W. A. Wilcox (in a letter to Prof. S. F. Baird), Bull. 
U.S. Fish Commission, 1887, p. 417. 

Crenilabrus exoletus at Penzance.— Early in May, in a crab-pot in 
about ten fathoms of water, I took a Rock-cook, Crenilabrus exoletus. It is 
not a rare fish here, but is rarely observed, and I note it on account of its 
exceedingly brilliant colouring. The ultramarine-blue stripes over and 
below the eye throughout the whole length of the head, were followed along 
the back by markings, following the edges of the scales, of a similar blue, 
intermixed with bright iridescent-green. The base of the pectorals and of 
the caudal were similarly marked, as were also three or four rows of scales 
below the lateral line; and it was similarly, but in fainter colour, marked 
on the belly behind the vent, the blue colour preponderating; the sides 
were of a golden bronze colour, and so also were the lower sides of the 
preoperculum. The dorsal and anal fins were also bright blue at the base ; 
the belly was of a inonzed white. The fish was a male, which may perhaps 


at this season account for its peculiarly brilliant appearance. It possesses 
the very unpleasant character of having an extremely disagreeable odour, 
even whilst alive. I presume that the reason why fish are very rarely 
described in their true colours by ichthyologists is that they do not see 
their specimens until they are dead and have lost their colours, but this is 
the brightest coloured Rock-cook I have ever seen. — Thomas Cornish 

Octopus at Penzance.— During the week ending July 16th I took two 
specimens of Octopus vulgaris in my nets, in about eight fathoms water. Of^fi^- 
They were both small ones, the largest less than three feet in length. '^ 
Both had ink-sacs full of the ordinary fluid, but they did not attempt to 
squirt it when taken. In fact, I never saw an Octopus attempt to squirt. 
One was beautifully coloured at the time of its capture, mottled light and 
dark sepia-colour. The other was dull self-coloured when captured, but 
attahied this mottled appearance as it died. — Thos. Cornish (Penzance). 


Secretion of a violet-coloured fluid by certain of the LimnEeidae. — 

My friend Mr. Wm. Nelson (Leeds) noted in the ' Quarterly Journal of 
Conchology' for May, 1877, that Limnma stagnalis had the power of 
emitting, when irritated, a pale violet-coloured liquid, which he had 
noticed on taking the animal (after killing) from the shell, and also when 
lifting them alive from out of the water. It may be of interest to know 
that both L. peregra and L. palustris also possess this peculiar property, 
which I have frequently noticed in living specimens. The liquid discharge 
is of a much darker colour in palustris than that in peregra. — W. E. 
CoLLiNGE (Springfield Place, Leeds). 

Rate of Progress by Snails. — The rate of progress in the land 
Mollusca is so slow, that to travel "at a snail's pace" has become 
proverbial. It would seem from experiments recently made by an American 
savant, at the Terre Haute Polytechnic, that the precise rate has been 
approximately determined. Half-a-dozen snails were allowed to crawl 
between two lines ten yards apart, when the average speed was ascertained 
to be at the rate of a mile in fourteen daj's. The particular species of 
Helix is not named. It would be well to have stated this, for doubtless 
some species can travel ftister than others. 


Livid Swimming Crab at Penzance. — I have to-day taken a crab 
which I must describe as the " Livid Swimming Crab." It precisely 
coincides with the descriptions given by Bell of P. marmoreus and of 


P. holsatus, except in its size, which is greater than that of P. marmoreus, 
being If in. in length, and IJin. in breadth across the carapace, and in 
the colour of the carapace, which is of a dull leaden hue all over, reheved 
on the hepatic regions by two corresponding crescents of little white spots. 
The specimen is a male, and is in excellent condition, and my conclusion 
about it is that it is merely a largely developed specimen of P. marmoreus, 
as Bell suggested P. holsatus might turn out to be. Its colour makes no 
difference in my conclusion. It is well known that in many of our smaller 
crabs the colour of the young is quite unlike the colour of the adult in the 
same species. For instance, the little many-coloured Xanthos develop 
into the well-known sluggish self-coloured reddish-brown crab. — Thomas 
Cornish (Penzance). 


Wasp attacking a Tarantula.— My friend Mr. Samuel Bhgh, of 
Catton, Coslanda, Ceylon, writes me as follows, under date of 22nd May, 
1887 : — " On the 16th a Mason Wasp, of a large species common here, 
was discovered dragging a large Tarantula across my garden-path; it had 
evidently stung to numbness its huge and venomous prey, and was taking 
it to its nest. The Wasp was killed ; the Spider is still alive, but com- 
pletely paralysed ; it weighed three drachms, the Wasp only ten grains." 
I think the above may be interesting to readers of ' The Zoologist.' — 
J. H. GuENET (Northrepps Hall, Norwich). 


Zoological Society of London. 

June 23, 1887.— Prof. W. H. Flower, LL.D., F.R.S., President, in 
the chair. 

Mr. Sclater exhibited the skin of a White-nosed Monkey of the genus 
Cercopithecus, lately living in the Society's Gardens, which appeared to be 
the C. ascanias of Schlegel. It had been obtained by the Rev. W. C. 
Willoughby from the west shore of Lake Tanganyika, East Africa. 

Mr. Sclater also exhibited and made remarks on a specimen of the 
Pheasant from Northern Afghanistan lately described by him as Phasianus 

An extract was read from a letter addressed to the Secretary by 
Mr. A. H. Everett, of Labuan, reporting the return of Mr. John White- 
head from his expedition to Kina-Balu Mountain in Northern Borneo, with 
specimens of some fine new Birds, Mammals, and other objects of Natural 


Dr. Giinther exhibited and made remarks on a hybrid Pheasant, between 
a male Golden Pheasant, Thmimalea jncta, and a female Reeve's Pheasant, 
Pliasanius reeved. Dr. Giinther also exhibited a living hybrid Pigeon, 
produced by a male white Fantail Pigeon and a female Collared Dove, 
Turtur risorius. 

Dr. Giinther read a report on the zoological collections made by Gapt. 
Maclear and the other officers of H.M.S. ' Flying Fish,' during a short 
voyage to Christmas Island. This island is situated in the middle of 
the Indian Ocean, south of Java, and had never been before visited by 
naturalists. The collection, which had been worked out by the staff of the 
British Museum, consisted of ninety-five specimens, amongst which were 
examples of two Mammals, two Birds, two Reptiles, two Mollusks, two 
Coleoptera, two Lepidoptera, and a Sponge new to Science. 

Mr. F. Beddard read a paper on Mynnecohius fasciatus, in which he 
described a remarkable glandular structure stretched across the anterior 
region of the thorax of this Marsupial. 

Prof. F. Jeffrey Bell read the sixth of a series of studies on the 
Holothuridea. The present paper contained descriptions of several new 
species belonging to the genera Cucumaria, BohadscJua, and Holothuria. 

Mr. A. Smith-Woodward read a report on the fossil teleostean genus 
Rhacolepis. The author gave a detailed description of this Brazilian fossil- 
fish, which had been named and briefly noticed by Agassiz. Three species 
were defined, and the author showed that the genus had hitherto been 
erroneously associated with the Percoids and Berycoids. He considered it 
an Elopine Clupeoid. 

A communication was read from Mr. James W. Davis, containing a 
note on a fossil species of Chlamydoselachns. The author pointed out that 
some teeth from the Pliocene of Orciano, Tuscany, figured and described 
by R. Lawley in 1876, were referable to this newly-discovered genus of 
Sharks. He named the fossil species C. lawleyi. 

Mr. Frank E. Beddard read the fourth of a series of notes on the 
anatomy of Earthworms. The present communication treated of the 
structure of Cryptodrilus fletcheri, a new species from Queensland. 

A communication was read by Mr. Roland Trimen, containing observa- 
tions on Bipalium kewense, of which worm he had obtained many specimens 
from gardens at the Cape. 

Dr. Giinther gave the description of two new species of fishes from the 
Mauritius, proposed to be named Platycephalus subfasciatas and Latilus 

Mr. Sclater read a note on the Wild Goats of the Caucasus, in which he 
pointed out the distinctions between Capra caucasica and C. pallasi, which 
had been until recently confounded together. 

Mr. G. Boulenger made remarks on the skull and cervical vertebrae 


of Meiolania, Owen (Ceratochelys, Huxley), and expressed the opinion 
that these remains indicated a Pleurodiran Chelonian of terrestrial and 
herbivorous habits. The peculiar structure of the tail pointed to a distinct 
family [Meiolaniida). 

A second paper by Mr. Boulenger contained remarks on a rare American 
fresh-water Tortoise, Emys hlandingii, Holbrook, which was shown to be a 
close ally of Eimjs orbicularis of European fresh waters, but to present 
distinct differential characters. 

Mr. A. Dendy read a paper on the West-Indian Sponges of the family 
CheliniiKB, and gave descriptions of some new species. 

Mr. H. Seebohm gave the description of a new species of Thrush, from 
Southern Brazil, proposed to be called Merula siibalaris. 

A comnuuiication was read f;om Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, containing 
the description of a new species of the genus Calyfitomena, lately discovered 
by Mr. John Whitehead on the mountain of Kina-Balu, in Borneo, which 
he proposed to name C. ivhitehcadi. 

This Meeting closes the present Session. The next Session (1887-88) 
will commence in November. — P. L. ScLArKR, Secretary. 

Entomological Society of London. 

July 6, 1887. — Dr. D. Sharp, F.Z.S., President, in the chair. 

The Rev. W. T. H. Newman, M.A., 11, Park Terrace, The Crescent, 
Oxford, was elected a Fellow of the Society. 

Mr. M'Lachlan remarked that at the meeting of the Society in October, 
188G, he exhibited a quantity of the so-called "jumping seeds" from Mexico, 
containing larvaj of Carpoca.psa saltitans, Westw. The seeds had long ceased 
to "jump," which proved that the larvae were either dead, had become 
quiescent, or had pupated ; about a fortnight ago he opened one of the seeds, 
and found therein a living pupa. On the 4th inst. a moth (exhibited) was 

The President, on behalf of the Rev. H. S. Gorham, exhibited the 
following Coleoptera, lately taken in the New Forest: — Anoplodera sex- 
guttata, Fab., wholly black variety; Orammoiitera analis. Fab.; Colydium 
elongatum, Fab.; and a specimen of Tachinus elonyatus, GylL, with 
brownish-red elytra. 

Mr. S. Stevens exhibited a specimen of Orsodacna humeralis, Latr. 
(lineola, Panz., var.), taken by him at Norwood: he also exhibited a 
specimen of the same beetle taken by him fifty years ago in Coombe Wood ; 
during the interval he had never seen it alive. 

Mr. G. T. Porritt exhibited, on behalf of Mr. N. F. Dobree, of Beverley, 
a series of about thirty specimens of a TcBiiiocampa he had received from 
Hampshire, which had previously been referred to as a red form of 


T. gracilis. Mr. Dobree was inclined to think they were not that species, 
but T. stabilis. 

Mr. A. C. Horner exhibited the following species of Coleoptera from the 
neighbourhood of Ton bridge : — Co»y9soc/u7MS palpalis, Esp. (5); Acw- 
gnathus mandibularis, Gjll. (4); Homalota atrata, Mann., H. vilis, Er., 
and H. difficilis, Bris. ; Calodera riibens, Er. ; and Oxytelus fulvipes, Er. 
He also exhibited a Rhizophagus from Sherwood Forest, which appeared to 
belong to a new species ; and several specimens of Holopedina polypori, 
Fdrst., also from Sherwood Forest, where he had found it in company 
with, and probably parasitic on, Cis vestitus. 

Mr, Elisha exhibited two larvae of Zelleria hepariella, Stn. 

Mr. Stainton remarked that as the greater part of the larvte of Zelleria 
were attached to the Oleaceae, it seemed strange that certain species had 
recently been found on Saxifrage. 

Mr. Slater read a paper " On the presence of Tannin in certain Insects, 
and its influence on their colours." He mentioned the facts that tannin 
was certainly present in the tissues of the leaf-, wood- and bark-eating species, 
but not in the tissues of the carnivorous beetles, and that black colour on 
the elytra of certain beetles appeared to be produced by the action of iron 
on tannin. A discussion ensued, in which Prof. Meldola, Mr. Poulton, 
Dr. Sharp, and others took part.— W. W. Fowleb, Hon. Sec. 


Die Waldschnepfe. Ein Motiographischer Beitracj zur Jagcl- 
zoologie, von Dr. Julius Hoffmann. Zweite vermehrte 
Auflage. 8vo. Stuttgart, 1887. 

The first edition of this book appeared in 1867, and in the 
twenty years which have elapsed since its publication, considerable 
advance has been made in the study of Ornithology. Not only 
are there now a great many more skilled observers than formerly, 
but their observations are much more systematic and thorough of 
their kind. It may almost be said that more definite knowledge 
has been gained on this subject during the last five and twenty 
years than was acquired during the previous century. Especially 
is this the case with regard to the migration of birds, the deter- 
mination of their breeding haunts, the discovery of new species, 
and the exposition of relationships from careful anatomical and 
physiological research. With the greater facilities which now 
exist for travel and exploration, naturalists have been enabled to 



follow our summer migrants into their winter quarters, and to 
ascertain whereabouts, and in what manner, those birds nest and 
rear their young which visit us only during the winter months. 
With this general advance in the science of Ornithology it is 
not surprising that we have come to learn more even about so 
common a bird as the Woodcock, sought after as it is not only 
by naturalists and by sportsmen of every degree who are fond of 
shooting, but also by that unthinking class of persons who expect 
to have gibier of some kind in season or out of season, and care 
not where it comes from, or how it is obtained, so long as it 
appears in their menu. 

A glance at Dr. Hoffman's monograph suffices to show that 
it has been written for the two first-named classes ; for the 
naturalist who is fond of shooting, and for the ardent sportsman 
who in the intervals of sport may like to read something of the 
history and habits of a bird which, from the nature of its haunts 
and its mode of flight, is at all times worth pursuit in the proper 
season, and, in favoured localities, afi:brds the most enjoyable 
kind of shooting. 

Commencing with some remarks upon the sj'stematic position 
of the Woodcock in the class Aves, Dr. Hoffmann gives a brief 
review of the different species of Woodcock and Snipe known to 
Science, with their geographical distribution, based in a great 
measure upon Mr. Seebohm's article on this subject which 
appeared in 'The Ibis' for April, 1886, and adopting the 
difi'erentiations and trinomial nomenclature there proposed. As 
Dr. Hoff'man is not primarily responsible for the views which he 
has thus adopted, but merely takes them upon trust, this is 
perhaps hardly the place in which to criticise them, or we might 
be disposed to question some of the opinions here reiterated, 
and show cause for reducing the number of species enumerated. 
Moreover, such a course is rendered the more unnecessary from 
our expectation that in Mr. Seebohm's forthcoming work on the 
Limicola he will see reason to modify some of the views which 
he has expressed even as recently as in April, 1886. We shall 
at least expect to see Scolopax rosenhergi, Schlegel, identified 
with Scolopax saturata, Horsfield, and Scolopax solitaria, Hodgson, 
allowed to include the Japanese form which, under the trinomial 
Scolopax solitaria japonica, has been raised to the dignity of a 
subspecies by Mr. Seebohm in the article quoted. A closer study 


of the South American Snipe, also, will probably lead to a further 
revision of this difficult group of birds. 

After describing the European Woodcock at length, and 
noticing some of its anatomical peculiarities, such as the flexi- 
bility of the upper mandible, which enables the bird to seize 
more readily a worm beneath the surface which may be felt though 
not seen, Dr. Hoffman discusses the question whether there is 
not more than one race of Woodcock, on the ground that two 
very different forms of this bird are well known to sportsmen, 
namely, a large Woodcock (der Eulenkopf) of a yellowish tone of 
colour, with a large head, and flesh-coloured feet; and a smaller 
and slimmer bird {Steinschnepfe, Dornschnepfe, der Spitzkopf, 
oder der Blaufuss), more sombre in colour, and with feet of a blue 
or steel-grey colour. The former, it is said, breeds in Central 
Europe ; the latter does not, although some authorities maintain 
that the differences above noted are indicative of sex only. 

In a tabular form (pp. 25 — 32) Dr. Hoffman has given the 
weight, measurements, and coloration of forty-two specimens 
procured in spring (twenty-six males and sixteen females) with 
critical remarks on the plumage of each, which has a special 
bearing on the question whether the sexes of the Woodcock can 
be recognized by any outward markings. It has often been 
asserted that the sexes may be distinguished by the appearance 
of the first primary, in which, it is said, the outer web is of an 
uniform colour in the female, and has white or huffy-white zigzag 
markings on a darker ground colour in the male. This, however, 
has long ago been shown (amongst others by Gould) to be a 
fallacy, and we have seen the first primary of a Woodcock which 
had the markings referred to for half its length only, the remaining 
half being quite uniform in colour. Thus no dependence can be 
placed upon this character, which varies, not with sex, but with 
age ; nor can any constant character be pointed out as an 
invariable indication of sex. 

One of the most interesting chapters in the book is that 
(Chap. IV.) which deals with the life-history and habits of 
this bird, including the habit of carrying its young (p. 85), its 
peculiar note or call, its food, and propagation, under all of wliich 
headings a number of useful statistics are given from personal 
observation by the author or by some of his friends, as well as by 
authors of note whom he cites. 


In the succeeding chapter we have an account of the 
geographical distribution of the Woodcock and its migrations, 
including a table showing the date of its spring arrival at Stutt- 
gart (Wurtemburg) and at Greifswald (Pomerania) as observed 
for thirty years (1856—1886) by the author and by Dr. Quistorp, 
of Griefswald, respectively. The regularity of its appearance 
as noted by these two observers is remarkable, being almost 
invariably during the first fortnight of March, very rarely during 
the last week of February, and in two years only as late as the 
1st and 4th April, the autumn migration commencing in Northern 
Europe and in the mountainous parts of Central Europe about 
the end of the month of September, although later in Germany, 
and, according to the weather, sometimes even as late as the 
middle of November. 

In Chapter VI. the winter quarters of the Woodcock are 
defined with more or less exactness (pp. 108 — 120), and its 
occasional appearance in the United States noted. 

The concluding portion of the volume deals with Woodcock 
shooting under various aspects, and includes some interesting 
statistics in regard to the number of birds killed in different 
years ; while an appendix of eight pages contains an account of 
the North-American Woodcock, with which species the author 
became personally acquainted in New Brunswick. 

On the whole it may be said that both naturalists and 
sportsmen will find in Dr. Hoffman's monograph an excellent 
contribution to the history of a much-prized bird, written by one 
who is evidently well qualified from his experience to deal with 
the subject. 

A Year ivith the Birds. By an Oxford Tutok. Second Edition, 
enlarged. Post 8vo, pp. 180. Oxford : Blackwell. London: 
Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 

We believe it to be now an open secret that Mr. W. W. Fowler 
is the author of this very pleasant little volume, which has 
deservedly reached a second edition ; any doubt on the subject 
may be almost certainly removed by a glance at the neat " dedi- 
cation," which runs thus : — " Patri meo qui cum Auciopis nomine 
avium amorcm filio tradidit.'" 

The object of the writer apparently is to show how much 


real enjoyment may be gained from a study of Ornithology, even 
in a city, and under circumstances which at first sight would 
hardly seem favourable. The " list of birds observed in Oxford 
and within a radius of four miles " (pp. 165 — 170) includes 
upwards of a hundred different species, and, although a few of 
them (like the Hoopoe) may be considered as of doubtful 
occurrence, while others, like the Hen Harrier and Goshawk, 
must be exceedingly rare within the I'adius referred to, yet it is 
evident that even in close i^roximity to a large city like Oxford 
there is an abundance of bird-life to be met with, offering an 
attraction at all seasons to those who would have an object in 
their walks. 

It is surprising how many birds, in spite of the presence of 
their deadliest enemies, boys and cats, will come into our gardens 
to build their nests, if only fair opportunities are afforded them. 
" An Oxford Tutor " tells us that in a garden close to his own, 
wherein the owner had used\every means to attract them, there 
were, in May, 1886, fifty-three nests, exclusive of those of 
Swallows and Martins. The garden is not more than two or 
three acres in extent, including a small orchard which adjoins it; 
but by planting thick bushes and coniferous trees, and by placing 
flower-pots and boxes in the branches at some height from the 
ground, he insjjired them with confidence in his good intentions. 
The fact that a pair of Missel Thrushes reared their young there 
only a few feet from the ground, and close to a stable and much 
frequented walk, shows that even birds of wild habits of life may 
be brought to repose trust in man by attention to their wants. 

It is not often that one has an opportunity of seeing the 
Grasshopper "Warbler, though its note is very familiar ; for it is 
of such skulking habits and restless disposition that it seldom 
affords more than a momentary glimpse of itself as it creeps 
through the thick covert in which it delights. The author of the 
present volume furnishes some interesting notes on this species 
(pp. 101 — 103) from his own observation of it under favourable 
circumstances. His attempt to sketch the local migration of 
birds, as observed in the neighbourhood of a particular mid- 
land village, is doubtless applicable to many other parts of the 

Nor is it onl}' as an exponent of English bird-life that " an 
Oxford T utor " comes before us. Vacation rambles in Switzerland 


have afforded many opportunities, which have been turned to 
good account, for the quiet observation of some of the so-called 
rarer British birds in some of their continental haunts. Com- 
paratively little has been published in English on the birds of 
Switzerland, and the chapter entitled " The Alps in September " 
will on this account, as well as for the information which it 
affords, be read with interest by every ornithologist. 

In the succeeding chapter on " the Birds of Virgil " (one of 
the best in the book) we find ample proof that a knowledge of 
natural history is a material aid to the proper understanding and 
due appreciation of many passages in the works of this most 
observant Latin poet. The brief sketch given of his home and 
surroundings in early life (pp. 135 — 139) shows what opportunities 
he must have enjoyed for a study of nature, and how well these 
opportunities were subsequently turned to account : — 

" The first sixteen years of his life were spent in his native 
country of Cisalpine Gaul, almost under the shadow of the Alps. 
His parents were " rustic," and he was brought up amongst the 
woods and rushy meads of Mantua and Cremona. At that time 
probably the great plain of the Po was still largely occupied by 
those dense forests the destruction of which is said to be the 
chief cause of the floods to which the river is liable. Much land 
also must have been still undrained and marshy ; and we can 
still trace in the neighbourhood of Mantua the remains of those 
ancient lake dwellings which an ancient people had built there 
long before the Gauls (from whom the poet was perhaps 
descended) had taken possession of the plain. These woods and 
marshes, as well as the land which Eoman settlers had tilled for 
vine or olive, must have been alive with birds in Virgil's day. 
There would be all the birds of the woods, the Pigeons, Owls, 
and Hawks ; there would be Cranes and Storks at the period 
of their migrations, and all manner of waterfowl from the two 
rivers Po and Mincio, and from the Lacus Benacus (Lago di 
Garda), which is only about twenty miles distant. Later in life 
he was as much in Southern as in Northern Italy. That the 
first three Georgics were written, or at least thought out, on the 
lovely Bay of Naples is tolerably clear from lines at the end of 
the fourth Georgic. Here were all the sea-birds, and the wild' 
fowl that haunt the sea ; here the summer migratory birds might 
land on their way from Africa. Here, from the sea and all its 


varying life, the poet's mind would enrich itself with sights 
unknown to him in the flat lands of the Padus, and grow to 
understand more fully day by day the impressions— often dull 
ones — which Nature had made on the poets who had sung before 
him. He loved Campania and he loved Sicily ; at Tarentum 
also he sojourned, probably visiting the friendly and jovial 
Horace. The hill-country of the peninsula and of the island 
that belongs to it, became a part of his poetical soul ; and 
as he probably spent much of his time at his own Cisalpine 
farm, after he was restored to it through his patron's kindly 
influence, he must have been constantly moving among all 
the phases of Italian landscape — in the plain, on the hills, by 
the sea." 

"An Oxford Tutor" criticises Virgil's knowledge of birds, 
of which some twenty different kinds are mentioned, and shows 
that, although here and there we find some delusions which 
were the common property of the age, his descriptions of 
their habits are for the most part accurate, and happily 
expressed. The classical scholar, as well as the naturalist, will 
discover in this chapter much sound criticism, and very pleasant 

As a tutor, the author considers that one of the most useful 
aids towards education is to direct attention to the study of 
natural objects, and his agreeable method of imparting infor- 
mation will bring many, we cannot doubt, to his own way of 

A Bibliography of the Books relating to Fancy Pigeons. By 
T. B. CooMBE Williams, with Notes on their Earity and 
Value. 8vo, pp. 20. Printed for the Author by West, 
Newman & Co., Hatton Garden. 1887. 

Although nearly all the cliief domestic races of Pigeons 
existed before the year 1600, no English writer on the subject 
appeared until John Kay, in 1078, in his edition of Wiillughby's 
' Ornithology,' published the first English account of fancy 
Pigeons, and figured ten varieties of them. 

Most English pigeon-books, and very many German and 
French ones, are of comparatively recent date. Mr. Coombe 


Williams's list, although it cannot be said to be exhaustive, 
conveys a fair idea of the principal literature which exists 
relating to fancy Pigeons, and will be very useful. Roughly 
speaking, of the 140 titles, or thereabouts, which he quotes, 
English writers are credited with 58 ; German (including 
translations), 45 ; French, 21 ; Dutch, 3 ; Latin, 3 ; Italian, 5 ; 
Spanish, 1 ; and Arabic, 1 . 

Amongst English books on this subject one of the rarest is 
John Moore's ' Columbarium, or the Pigeon House ; being an 
Introduction to a Natural History of Tame Pigeons.' 8vo, 
pp. xiv. — 60. London, J. "Wilford, 1785. It is an original work, 
and one to which subsequent writers on Fancy Pigeons have been 
much indebted. It is of such rarity that only half-a-dozen copies 
are known to exist, four of which are in the British Museum, 
a fifth in the library of Mr. Esquilant, and the sixth in the 
possession of Mr. Coombe Williams. In 1852 it was reprinted 
by Eaton, and in 1874 by Wade, in Philadelphia, the latest 
edition being that issued by Mr. Tegetmeier in 1879. Of these 
we are acquainted only with the last named, which seems un- 
fortunately to be not very accurate, for according to Mr. Coombe 
Williams, although purporting to be a literatim reprint it contains 
more than fifty misprints ! Wade's edition also is condemned as 
having no pretension to be a literatim reprint. 

John Moore seems to have been somewhat of a celebrity in 
his day. Pope addressed a poem of ten verses to him, and he is 
mentioned by Swift in " a letter from a gentleman in the country 
to his friend in town." His death, which occurred in 1737, is 
recorded in ' The Gentleman's Magazine' for that year. 

Amongst other rare books on this subject in the possession 
of Mr. Williams, is a curious volume in French by de Sacy, 
printed in 1805. It is entitled ' La Colombe,' and is translated 
from the Arabic, the Arabic and French texts being printed on 
opposite pages. This is stated to be " very scarce." 

To judge by these and some other rarities which we notice 
in the Catalogue, Mr. Williams may be congratulated on his 
collection of " Pigeon books," and upon his useful list of them. 




Vol. XL] SEPTEMBER, 1887. [No. J 39. 


By Samuel Carter. 

As you have paid me the compliment of asking me to write 
down mj experience of keeping Red-deer in a paddock at 
Kensington, I now do so, although I feel some diffidence in the 
matter, having so little to relate. 

The early years of my life having heen spent amongst some 
of the best sportsmen in Norfolk, in what was then the business 
of my life, I had excellent opportunities for making observations 
on all kinds of game and animals connected with sport, the study 
of which has since helped me much in my profession of animal 
painter. Deer always had a great fascination for me, but as they 
could not be easily approached, either in parks or in the High- 
lands, I was unable to do much beyond studying their general 
appearance and beauty of movement. I therefore determined to 
keep some as models in connection with my studio. Having 
fortunately a good old-fashioned garden (one of the few left about 
here, with stabling, &c.), I was able to arrange my deer-houses 
and walks, which although limited as regards space, I found quite 
sufficient for my purpose, and met, I consider, with fair success. 
I bred eleven young deer, or " calves," as they are termed, in six 
years, one of the hinds being only in her first season when she 
came. Having arranged their walk, which was about thirty-eight 
feet long, with nine-foot pallisading and rough concrete floor, 



with drains and gratings to enable the man to wash the place 
down every morning, I left the surface sufficiently rough to 
wear their hoofs and keep them from growing too long. This is 
of the first importance in keeping hoofed animals, to prevent 
their becoming lame. A division was made in the centre, with a 
gate so arranged that it could be opened and shut from the 
outside, to separate the stag when necessary from the hinds, and 
also for the safety of the man when cleaning the place when the 
stag had his horns burnished. In each division there was a 
separate retreat, with straw bed, hay-rack, and water-trough, and 
everything was then ready for the deer, which I purchased from 
Mr. Herring, the well-known dealer in deer, then living in the 
New Road. One of the hinds being scarcely at the end of her 
first year, she did not breed until the second season after I had 
her, — that is, in her third year, — but the old hind (not her 
mother, by-the-bye) had a good calf, and after that each season 
they had a calf for five consecutive years. Whilst I kept them 
I gave away two yearling hinds to the Zoological Society ; but 
I do not know what became of them, as I never saw them after- 
wards, and could not learn anything definite from the keeper, 
though I did not press my enquiry. 

One fine male calf, which was born in the last week in May, 
1875 (the earliest, by-the-bye, I remember), I thought I would 
keep, in order to see how he would turn out, and a fine deer he 
made, being quite the height of the old stag at the end of tlie first 
year. He had then begun to throw up his first points, which 
were, as usual, straight ones, and were shed at the end of the 
following April, or rather in the last week of that month, so that 
I reckoned he was then one year and eleven months old. He 
then commenced his first antlers, which, to my surprise, had nine 
points, when fully up at the end of July ! I might, I think, have 
called him " a stag of ten,'' but the bay tine on one side was only 
what is called an " off"er," about half an inch long. I parted with 
him in the following autumn to go to Richmond Park, where 
I hoped to see him from season to season ; but I was much 
disappointed afterwards to find that they had been obliged to cut 
him, for being brought up so tame, and having lost the natural 
fear of man, he became too dangerous for a public park, and 
would attack people, and even horses in carriages, I was told. It 
was also unfortunate that when moving him they were obliged to 


saw off his horns, which they did by cutting off the biow- 
tines close to the burr and the beam, just above, in the usual 
way, and, as I was not at home at the time, the pieces were 
eventually lost sight of, for at that time I had no idea of 
writing or taking further notes on the subject, the deer having 
been seen by all my neighbours and many visitors to my studio. 
Amongst others, Mr. Tattersall, a near neighbour, saw them, 
and Mr. Norman and the late Rev. John Russell, both great 
stag-hunters with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. I first 
made their acquaintance and enjoyed a good season's sport 
with them, when I painted the late Master of that pack, 
Mr. Bisset, and other members of the hunt, with a stag at 
bay in the Doone Valley. 

Mr. Russell, I remember, was rather puzzled about the 
antlers, as he always held to the theory that they progressed 
more gradually, whilst I maintained that many of their deer 
which they would have were seven years old were only three or 
four years old, the rapid growth of the horns being due to the 
fact that in that country they get such good browse in the large 
covers of scrub-oak and other trees, as well as from the enclosures. 
In this way getting generally better feeding than the deer in 
Scotland, and having to put up with less severe winters, they are 
larger and have better heads at a much earlier age. This accounts 
for so many " warrantable deer," as they are called, being found 
every season, notwithstanding so many being killed the previous 

I feel confident tliat the development of antler is more the 
result of feeding than anything else, and I think my young stag 
might have had " three upon top " if I had not thought it 
necessary, when the horns had passed the " ti'ay " and were 
forming the top, to stop the supply of maize, on account of the 
heat in the beginning of July, and the rather circumscribed 
space in winch they were confined, for they appeared to sufl'er 
somewhat in consequence, the walk being open to the south 
and very warm, although in the sleeping sheds the sun was 
of course kept off. There is no doubt that in some herds 
the deer, either from the food in their localit}^ or from 
some peculiarity in their nature, grow larger horns than those 
in other herds. I am almost convinced that the six points 
indicate the proper head for a stag after shedding his first 


uprights, if he is a healthy animal, living under favourable 
circumstances, with plenty of good browse and shelter, and on a 
good soil — as, for example, in the better parts of Hertfordshire, 
which centuries ago took its name (so I have been told) from the 
size of "the great hertes" found there. My impression in this 
respect was confirmed by a gentleman who visited my studio. 
Being interested in deer, I told him about the young stag 
throwing up such a large head immediately after shedding his 
first uprights, and he replied that it was not at all strange, for it 
was a matter of keep and comfort. He then related to me an 
instance in which a congregation in church were surprised and 
somewhat alarmed (I forget whether he said it was at Balmoral 
or Braemar, but I think the latter) by two stags — both " royals" — 
walking in and down the middle aisle. It turned out that they 
were two that had been given as calves to the children of a 
farmer. Having been well nourished each threw up twelve points 
immediately after shedding the first uprights; but becoming then 
rather dangerous, were kept in a place of safety, but by some 
accident had been let out. I only tell this as it was told to 
me, and have been trying in vain to recollect the name of my 

As to my own experience, there are a few things I have 
noticed about deer which may be worth mentioning. It was an 
invariable rule that when the hinds had shed their winter coat 
and assumed their clean bright summer dress, you might in a 
week, or ten days at the outside, expect the fall of the calf, and 
it was the same with my Fallow-deer. But in noticing recently 
the Wapiti in the Zoological Gardens, I was surprised to see 
that (although each had a fine calf about a month old) the hinds 
were still shedding their old coats, and that only on their legs, 
face, and ears had the clean summer coat ; they had got rid of 
the long winter coat, but still their bodies were covered with the 
shorter winter hair still falling ofi'. 

Another point I have remarked is the difi'erence in the colour 
of deer, and especially in the eye. Some are much lighter 
coloured than others, and have an eye with a straw-coloured 
iris ; others have a dark brown eye and the red of the bodies and 
the browns and grey about the face, neck, and legs much darker 
in tone. So far as my experience goes, I am of opinion that the 
dark deer belong to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and 


the light-eyed deer of a lighter and moi'e mealy colour belong to 
the parks and lowlands, being also larger and partaking more of 
the character of the continental deer. I have noticed that Sir 
Edwin Landseer painted the dark eye, which he may have selected 
because it came in better from an artistic point of view, or because 
he always painted Highland deer. 

My stag was aged when I first had him, and was peculiar in 
having odd eyes, one straw-colour, the other light blue. He was 
a good stag, however, rather short and thick- set, and what I call 
" mealy-faced." The two hinds were darker in colour, especially 
the younger one, with fine rich brown eyes ; the calves took after 
them, and the young stag had the rich brown eye, like his mother, 
the largest hind. When quite young, with spotted coats, they 
were so like the young Wapiti now in the Zoological Gardens 
that I could not help being struck by the similarity, apart 
from size. The young Wapiti, as a rule, are darker about the 
face, ears, and eyes, but not more so than the young of my 
small dark hind ; and it is curious that the difference between 
the Wapiti and Red-deer developes as they advance towards 

I am surprised that deer are not more often kept, for they are 
very beautiful when viewed behind nice pallisading, and appear 
perfectly happy. They do better in a limited place such as mine 
than if they had a small run of grass, which only gets into a bad 
state, spoils their feet, and affects their general health. I think, 
moreover, my deer were also more contented at not having too 
extensive a view, but only a few trees and shrubs in front of their 
walks. I am certain this would be a good plan in breeding fresh 
stock for forests. The dry food which I gave them was hay and 
maize, with an occasional change to oats ; and for moist food 
I found golden-globe mangolds the best, for I have kept these 
roots stored in the outhouse all through the winter to the end of 
June, and still good. This could not be done with swedes, and 
the mangolds contain more moisture. In summer I gave green 
tares, and grass from lawns where it could be got clean. 

Besides the Red-deer I also kept a Fallow buck and four 
does, which did equally well, but were not so pleasant to keep, 
for they quarrelled so — not so much between the buck and does 
as between the does themselves, which were constantly chasing 
and biting each other. 


Both the calves of the Red-deer and the Fallow fawns used 
to come out through the railings and lie by themselves in the 
garden, and only went to their mothers for nourishment, except 
at night for protection. The only accident which happened was 
one killed by a large cat. It was one of the Fallow fawns, and 
hearing it crying I went out, and caught the cat on its neck. As 
he would not retreat more than a yard or two, I brought out my 
little rook-rifle and shot him dead. It was the more astonishing 
because this occurred when the fawn was more than two months 
old, and a fine strong, well-grown one. It was not quite dead 
when I arrived, but so injured that it could not stand, and 
being a good deal torn, I thought it better to put it at once 
out of pain. It was lucky they were not attacked in this way 
when younger, for they were generally out in the garden, and 
at'times it was a pretty sight to see them playing on the grass- 
plot — three Fallow fawns and two Red-deer calves. But the}' 
soon became bad gardeners, for they used to send the plants 
flying in their races over the flower-beds as they became 
stronger, and had to be kept in by wire-netting outside the iron 

I have omitted to state that my old stag never had more than 
eleven points, and one of them only an offer on one of the tops ; 
but I believe him to have been a very old stag wlien he came. 
For the last year or two the tines were straight and flat, and 
lacked the vigour of the curve. He might also have become a 
"royal" if I had not been obliged, or thought it necessary, to 
stop a good deal of the food in hot weather, just as the tops were 
growing, because they used to stand and pant from the heat, as 
the walk was without a roof and full in the sun, and in their 
houses it was also very warm, so that both deer, I consider, 
had the growth of horn checked. I have the old stag's head 
preserved, with his ten points; but he was going off from the 
time I had him, although always a heavy deer. 

( 337 ) 


Bi' E. Klein, M.D., F.R.S. 

Lecturer ou General Anatomy and Physiology at the Medical School of 

St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. 

The disease which during the spring and summer of the 
present year prevailed amongst the Grouse on the moors of 
Ayrshire and Cumberland is, according to the account given to 
me by the keepers on the various moors, the same which visited 
those parts during 1883 and at previous periods. The disease, 
during the present year, commenced on all these moors about the 
end of the first and during the second week of April, and lasted 
in a severe form until the end of May. During June it greatly 
diminished, and by the middle of the month, although in every 
one of the moors visited tliere were birds still affected, the disease 
had so much abated that it may be said to have practically come 
to a close. But I am sorry to say that this standstill seems to be 
due, in some degree, to the fact that most of last year's birds had 
been almost cleared out by disease. At any rate, on some of the 
moors few healthy old birds could be met with. 

The symptoms of the disease in Grouse during the present 
year are the same as those noticed in previous epidemics, and 
I think there can be little doubt also that during this year 
it is the typical and well-known " Grouse disease." All the 
keepers of the moors visited are unanimous on this point. The 
birds affected with the disease show the loss of feathers on the legs, 
the darker colour of the plumage on the back, the hoarse voice, 
and the sluggish abnormal flight. The birds seek the water, and 
when dead are generally found near or at the burnside or other 
water, loch or drain, on the moors. The diseased birds which 
I have examined— and this agrees with the accounts given by the 
various keepers, as well as by other observers— differ in this, that 
some die in a plump, others in a wasted condition. 

The moors which I visited, and on which I examined diseased 
birds are : — (1) Waterhead Moors, near Cumnock, rented by Mr. 
L. Marshall and Mr. S. Grant ; keeper, J. Sargent. (2) Craiglure 
Moors, near Maybole, belonging to the Marquis of Ailsa ; head 
keeper, Mr. Cox ; under keeper, Macdonald. (3) Kilkerran Moors, 

•■= From 'The Field' of Jiily 23rd, 1887. 


Kilkerran, belonging to Sir James Fergusson ; keeper, Shiels. 
(4) Blairquhan Moors, rented by Mr. G. Bailey Worthington ; 
keeper, Tolmie. (5) Stellshaw Moors, belonging to Sir Frederick 
Graham ; keeper, Alexander Crow. (6) Flat Moors, rented by 
Mr. Carter Wood ; keeper, James Crow. (7) In addition to these 
I examined a diseased bird sent from Peeblesshire. 

1. Waterhead Moors. — Few diseased birds to be met with. 
The keeper shot a cock bird, which, by its dark plumage on the 
back, its sluggish flight, and its legs bared of feathers, was 
diagnosed as distinctly diseased. The bird was in a slightl}' 
wasted condition. The post-mortem examination was made about 
three hours later. The middle portion of the small intestine, and 
both the c^ecal appendages, contained numerous taeniae or tape- 
worms. The small intestine and csecal appendages showed three 
perforations, evidently recent, and produced by shot. Through 
these perforations some tapeworms were protruding. The liver 
was much congested, and of a dark greenish colour. The second 
bird shot on these moors was a hen bird, in fairly plump condition. 
The post-mortem examination was made about three hours after- 
wards. The peritoneum looked normal, except some patchy 
redness in the small and large intestines. Several recent perfora- 
tions were noticed on the small intestine and csecal appendages ; 
from their nature they were probably caused by shot. Numerous 
tapeworms were found protruding from the small intestine, and 
extending freely into the peritoneal cavity. The mesentery, the 
parietal peritoneum, and the under surface of the liver, were 
covered with a layer of thick sanguineous exudation. The liver 
was much congested and of a dark colour. The kidney was also 

2. Craiglure Moors. — After a prolonged search, lasting 
several hours, we got a diseased cock bird, which was shot by 
the keeper. The bird was in a plump condition. The peritoneal 
cavity was normal. The whole of the lower half of the small 
intestine contained numerous tapeworms. There was patchy 
congestion in many places in the wall of the small intestine. The 
liver was congested and of a dark colour; the kidney appeared 
slightly congested. 

3. Kilkerran Moors. — After several hours' search, during 
which time a fair number of healthy birds were met with, we came 
across a diseased cock bird, which was shot by the keeper. The 


bird was in a thin condition ; bare on chest, abdomen, and 
legs. The post-mortem examination was made about two hours 
afterwards. Along the small intestine, which contained numerous 
teeniae, there were several recent perforations, some minute, others 
larger, probably produced b}' the shots. Blood clots were found 
in the abdominal cavitj' ; these had probably been caused by 
injury to a large vessel. There was sanguineous exudation on 
the mesentery, on the parietal peritoneum, and on the upper 
sui'face of the liver. Numerous teenise were protruding from the 
small intestine into the peritoneal cavity, several whole tsenise 
and several small pieces of them being free in the peritoneal 
cavity. The liver was congested and discoloured. 

4. BT.AIRQUHAN Moors. — Two diseased birds were examined ; 
they were shot by the keeper. One was wasted, and to all 
external appearance, was considerably advanced in disease. On 
opening the abdominal cavity, the parietal peritoneum, the 
mesentery, and the serous covering of the intestines were found 
greatly inflamed and covered with sanguineous exudation ; so 
was the external surface of the liver. The middle part of the 
small intestine showed several perforations, probably all produced 
by shot, tsenise protruding from its cavity into the peritoneal 
cavity; in the latter were numerous taeniae. The liver was large 
and much discoloured ; the lungs and kidneys congested. The 
second bird was, to external appearances, less diseased, and in a 
fairly plump condition. The peritoneum looked healthy, but the 
small intestine showed patchy hyperaemia in several places. At 
one of these places the wall of the intestine was particularly con- 
gested and considerably thinned out, so that it required little for 
a perforation. The whole small intestine was much distended by 
numerous taeniae, more than a dozen heads being noticed. The 
liver was congested and discoloured. 

5. Stellshaw Moors. — Numerous adult healthy birds were 
seen, and numei'ous healthy and strong young ones. This was the 
only moor where one might say there was a fair stock of Grouse. 
During the whole day we came across only one cock bird that 
could be considered, from external appearances, to be in a diseased 
condition. It was shot, and found in a fairly plump state. The 
peritoneum was healthy ; the small intestine contained numerous 
taeniae, and showed in different parts congested patches. The 
liver was congested, and slightly darker in colour than normal. 


6. Flat Moors. — The first bird that I examined was brought 
to me by James Crow, the keeper, who found it in a drying con- 
dition. The i)ost-mortem examination was made one hour later, 
death having by this time ensued. In the peritoneal cavity there 
were found free several big clots of blood, and also a little of 
serous fluid ; close to the left kidney were lying several blood- 
clots and a mass of tapeworms. These were protruding through 
a hole in the middle part of the small intestine, into the cavitj'^ of 
which the hinder portions of these taeniae could be traced. The 
small intestine showed at and near this perforation congested 
patches. The liver and lung were congested, particularly the 
former, which was of a dark green colour. The kidney was in a 
state of extreme congestion, particularly the right kidney, on 
which some big venous branches were found ruptured, and from 
them blood was exuding. The second bird examined was a cock 
bird ; it was shot because, from external appearances, it was 
considered by the keeper to be in a distinctly diseased condition. 
The animal was fairly plump. The peritoneum was much in- 
flamed, particularly the parietal layer on the right side and the 
serous covering on the intestines ; sanguineous, thick exudation 
on mesentery, and in right hypochondrium. The small intestine, 
in its middle portion, was much distended by taeniae, and on one 
place opposite the right kidney there was a place noticed where 
the wall of the intestine had become much thinned out and ready 
for perforation. In addition to these birds, the keeper caught 
two living hen Grouse, which seemed to all appearances to be in 
a diseased condition. Both had the external signs of disease on 
them, but were in a fairly plump condition. They were brought 
to London in a living state. One was killed, the other died 
after two days. The post-mortem examination of the first showed 
patchy redness of the small intestine, the liver of a darkish colour. 
Numerous taeniae were present in the small intestine. The second 
bird showed the congestion of the small and large intestines very 
pronounced, and the same was observed on the pancreas. The 
organ was much infiltrated with blood ; the liver was enlarged, 
much congested, and of a dark greenish colour. The small 
intestine contained only a few taeniae. 

7. Through 'The Field' office I received a bird, which was 
sent from Broughton, in Peeblesshire. The bird, when sent 
off' by the keeper, was still living, but it died en route. When 


I examined it, the day after, it was in a fairly good condition of 
preservation. The small and large intestines showed a good deal 
of congestion, the mesenterj^' was inflamed, and there was a small 
quantity of fluid sanguineous exudation in the peritoneal cavity. 
The kidney showed great congestion, so did the lung; the liver 
was much congested, and of a greenish black colour. In the 
small intestine were numerous taeniae. At one of the congested 
points of the small intestine, the wall of the intestine was very 
much thinned out and almost perforated. 

From these observations it follows that all birds examined 
showed, as the most constant anatomical symptoms, the conges- 
tion of soiiTB parts of the intestines, the great congestion and 
discoloration of the liver and kidney, and in some cases also of 
the lung. In some cases the peritoneum was inflamed, and there 
was more or less inflammatory exudation in the peritoneal cavit3^ 
Extravasation of blood from the kidney was observed in one bird 
that had died spontaneously of the disease. In all the birds 
taeniae {Tania calva) were present in the small intestine, in some 
in great numbers ; in one bird that died spontaneously only a few 
examples were noticed. 

Unmistakable perforation of the intestine was noticed in one 
bird that had died spontaneously of the disease (from Flat Moors), 
and in another bird (from Broughton), also dead spontaneously, 
the intestine was on the point of perforation. The perforations 
noticed in some of the birds that were shot must be left out 
of consideration, since the nature of the perforation was not 
incompatible with having been caused by shot.* 

Comparing these observations with those of previous in- 
vestigators, we find, then, that they harmonise to a great extent 
with those recorded by Dr. Andrew Wilson in the 'Edinburgh 
Medical Journal,' and quoted by Mr. D. G. F. Macdonald in his 
book on ' Grouse Disease,' p. 145. Mr. Wilson noticed in the 
birds dissected by him a markedly congested state of the digestive 

* The presence of tsenife, whole and short pieces, found in some of the 
bh-ds examined by me is easily accounted for by remembering tliat if a 
perforation of the small intestine takes place (by disease, as in one of my 
birds, or by shot, as was most probably the case in several of the birds 
examined"), the toenise present in the intestine, by their known power of 
rapid contraction, would be able to pass out into the peritoneal cavity ; this 
need not take more than some mimites. 


and respiratory organs. Prof. Jeffrej'^ Bell, in ' The Zoologist' for 
July, 1887, p. 265, noticed in some specimens a marked inflam- 
mation of the walls of the intestine, in others a congested state 
of the liver. 

In 'The Field' of December 6th, 1873, p. 593, there is a 
reference to a passage printed in the ' Oriental Sporting Magazine' 
of January, 1829, and copied from the ' Greenock Advertiser,' so 
that it was probably first published in 1828 — that is to say, sixty 
years ago — to the following effect : — 

" Having heard a great deal said about a destructive disease spreading 
devastation among the moor game of this district, we have taken some 
trouble to inquire into the truth of the report, and, having ascertained it to 
be correct, we afterwards caused some inquiries to be made into the nature 
of the malady. From Mr. Wallace, a well-known adept in sporting matters 
in this immediate neighbourhood, several Grouse, in a state of complete 
emaciation, were sent to town. These were carefully dissected by one of 
our medical friends, and the disease found in all of them to be tapeworm. 
It is quite astonishing to observe the extent to which the disease can exist 

in the feathered tribe before causing death Some years ago, when a 

similar disease was prevalent, Mr. Wallace caused many specimens to be 
examined, and in some of them life had been protracted in the animals 
even after the worms had penetrated the intestines, twisted round their 
outer coats, and produced such extensive suppuration in the cavity of the 
abdomen, that the intestines literally floated in pus or matter." 

Now, the question presents itself. What is the cause of these 
anatomical lesions ? It is well known that there are a good many 
theories concerning the cause of the Grouse disease ; they have 
very ably been put together and analysed by Mr. Macdonald in his 
book on Grouse disease, quoted above. Of these theories three 
deserve special reference : — The first of these was put forth by 
Dr. Farquharson, who maintained — without, however, adducing 
any definite facts to prove it — that Grouse disease belongs to the 
category of infectious diseases. The second view is that advanced 
by the late Prof. Cobbold, to the effect that Strongylus pergracilis 
in the intestine is the cause of Grouse disease. And the third 
view may be considered contained in the passage quoted above 
from the ' Greenock Advertiser' of 1828. Other theories, such 
as overstocking, inclement season, insufficient and bad food, &c., 
are more or less of the nature of secondary influences, such as 
are known in other infectious diseases to increase or decrease the 


susceptibility and spread of the malady, but cannot be regarded 
as the causa caiisans. 

The first theory supposes the existence in the diseased animals 
of a hypothetical virus, which, by its multiplication within the 
organism, sets up the symptoms and phenomena of the disease. 
This virus, when finding access to a healthy bird, would here again 
multiply and produce the same disorder. In many infectious 
diseases the virus has been definitely shown to be some low form 
of life, generally belonging to the group of species of Bacteria. 
Some of these species have this great character, that they can live, 
thrive, and multiply within the body (in the blood and tissues) of 
certain species of animals, and by their chemical action, or other- 
wise, therein produce a definite group of symptoms characteristic 
of the particular disease. When they or their ofi"spring find access 
to a new susceptible body, they again multiply herein, and set up 
the same diseased state. Thus some of the infectious or com- 
municable diseases have been pi'oved to be caused by a definite 
species of microbes, differing in the different diseases. They are 
known as pathogenic microbes, and they are distinguished from 
other non-pathogenic species of microbes — though both are similar 
in morphological respects — in this important particular, that the 
latter have no disease-producing or pathogenic power — e.g., some 
species of microbes associated with fermentative and putrefactive 

The methods generally employed for the study of pathogenic 
mici'obes are these: — (i) The blood or tissues, or both, of an 
animal affected with an infectious disease should, as a first condi- 
tion, contain some definite form of microbes discoverable by the 
microscope ; (2) these microbes, taken from the blood or tissues 
of a diseased bod}', when transplanted on to various artificial 
nutritive media, multiply thereon, and thus produce new crops ; 
(3) the microbes of these artificial crops, or those taken directly 
from the diseased tissues, when transplanted (b}'^ inoculation or 
otherwise) into a healthy susceptible animal, set up the same 
disease as that from which they are derived ; and (4) in the animal 
thus infected the same species of microbes must be found to exist 
in the diseased tissues. 

Accordingly (1) I made a careful microscopic study of the 
blood and diseased tissues (liver and kidney) of Grouse dead of 
the disease. Three birds were examined : — (a) the one sent from 


Brougliton, and mentioned above, No. 7 ; (b) the bird that was 
found in a dying condition on Flat Moors, and mentioned No. 6 ; 
and (c) the bird that I brought to London with me, and that died 
here after two days. In no instance have I been able to discover 
the presence of a definite form of bacteria. Numerous micro- 
scopic specimens were examined of the liver and kidney, and the 
blood ; they were prepared by the methods used for the micro- 
scopic study of bacteria (staining with certain aniline dyes), but 
no kind of bacteria was discoverable. (2) I have made a large 
number of cultivations of blood on artificial nutritive media 
(nutrient gelatine, Agar Agar mixture, &c.), such as are used for 
this purpose in bacteriological investigations, but I have not been 
able to obtain any growths. I was therefore forced to conclude 
that, with our present means, no bacteria can be discovered as 
having anything to do with the Grouse disease. 

I directed my attention then to the second theory, that 
advanced by Prof. Cobbold. The three birds which I used for 
the bacterial investigation, and also the others examined, con- 
tained no strongyles in their intestines, and therefore Cobbold's 
theory was not applicable to our Grouse disease. 

The third theory above mentioned, namely tapeworm and per- 
foration of the bowels, did seem to a certain extent to harmonise 
with the observation made by myself, and recorded in a former 
paragraph. And I confess it was this theory which I provisionally 
accepted while in Ayrshire. But after I returned to London, and 
after I had an opportunity of dissecting the two deceased birds 
caught in Cumberland — one of which died two days afterwards in 
London — and found no signs of perforation of the bowels, and, 
moreover, in one bird only very few tapeworms in the intestine, 
while the intestines, liver, and kidney showed such marked signs 
of disease ; and further, when I found that Mr. Crisp had stated 
some years ago, in the ' Pathological Transactions,' that he had 
dissected several birds not dead of the disease, and that he found 
in them numerous tapeworms ; and finally, taking into considera- 
tion that many competent anatomists had dissected birds dead of 
the disease, but had not noticed any perforation of the bowels, 
I had to give up this theory of the tapeworm being the cause of 
the Grouse disease. 

I will also state that the tapeworm theory always presented to 
me this serious difficulty, vis., how to reconcile with it the diseased 


state of the liver, which I described in a previous paragraph. As 
a matter of fact, most of the keepers were firm in the belief that, 
in all birds dead of the malady this year and in previous years, 
the liver was found, on opening the animal, in a diseased con- 
dition. Others who have had experience in these matters, like 
Mr. Bailey Worthington and others, were of the same opinion. 

The fact that in the two diseased birds which I brought to 
London, and in which the peritoneum was to all appearances 
sound, but the liver and kidneys, particularly the former, in a 
pronounced state of disease, presented an insurmountable diffi- 
culty, and I may say, in consequence, I altogether abandoned the 
theory of tapeworm. 

Thus, except having learned from my own observations the 
nature of the pathology of the diseased birds, I had to confess 
the status quo ante. 

This being the state of matters, and seeing that the liver is 
the organ most constantly and distinctly affected, it was necessary 
to examine this organ microscopically in order to study more 
carefully the nature of the affection. Two things seemed to 
me to deserve special attention. In the first place, there can 
be no doubt that the theory that Grouse disease belongs to the 
group of infectious or communicable diseases best harmonises 
with the general pathology above described, and the manner of 
the spread of the disease, as observed in this epidemic and in 
former years — viz., that the disease, having made its appeai'ance 
in a particular localitj^ gradually sweeps, as it were, over the 
whole of this and the adjoining districts ; further, that the disease, 
manifesting itself at first in isolated cases, soon becomes epidemic, 
and then again gradually declines in frequency. 

Secondly, the question of some species of bacteria being the 
cause of the disease could not be answered in the affirmative. 
But it was still possible that some other kind of fungus was the 
cause of the malady, and in this case ought to be discovered in 
the liver. In connection with this, it is necessarj' to bear in mind 
that not all communicable diseases are due to bacteria. Amongst 
these I maj^ mention various forms of Protozoa, Amceha coli and 
various Psorospermia {Coccidumi oviforme in rabbit's liver) ; then 
there are various higher Fungi, Favus fungus, Aspergillus Jiavus, 
fumigatus, and niger ; then several species of Mucorinse, all of 
which are known to be pathogenic to man and animals ; then 


Actinomyces in cattle and man ; and lastly some forms belonging 
to the group of low Fungi known as Mycetozoa, Mixomycetes, or 
Plasmodia. In this connection may be mentioned the important 
discoveries of Marchiafava and Celli on the cause of intermittent 
fever or ague. These observers have shown the existence, in the 
blood of persons affected with ague, of certain forms of Plas- 
modium, and these are probably the cause of the disease ; and 
recently also Dr. D. Cunningham, of Calcutta, found in the tissue 
of the so-called "Delhi sore" (a cutaneous disorder in India), 
a form of plasmodium. 

Now, a careful examination, after my return from Scotland, 
of microscopic sections of the liver of Grouse dead of the disease, 
showed the existence, in the capillary blood-vessels and also in 
large branches of the veins of the liver, of numerous objects which 
do not belong, and are foreign to the normal liver tissue, as well 
as to the blood, or any other tissue of the bird. In suitably 
prepared specimens (hardening in alcohol, staining of fine sections 
in methylene blue), every capillary blood-vessel, or at any rate 
the spaces between the streaks of liver-cells usually occupied by 
capillary blood-vessels, contain certain corpuscles, which are about 
two to four times the diameter of the liver-cells, and of the white 
blood-corpuscles. The bodies in question are present in very 
great numbers, and are of various shapes— some cylindrical, others 
spindle-shaped, some are irregular and with one or more pro- 
cesses, while others are irregularly elongated ; each consists of 
a hyaline protoplasm, in which one or two oval nuclei are occa- 
sionally noticed ; but most of the protoplasm of the corpuscles is 
filled with spherical or irregular coarse particles. The protoplasm 
does not take the stain, while these particles are deeply tinted. 
The impression these bodies give one is that they are some form 
of Plasmodium, arrested by the hardening re-agent in one or 
the other phase of amoeboid movement, such as is shown by 
Plasmodium, There can be no question about these bodies, they 
are present everywhere in the capillaries of the liver. I have seen 
them also in most of the larger branches of the veins of the liver, 
and here I have also met with forms which very well harmonise 
with this view — viz., some forms spherical in shape, smaller 
than the above, and inclosed in a distinct capsule ; they would 
correspond to the spores of plasmodium. Further, nucleated 
corpuscles with uniform protoplasm were noticed differing from 


white blood-corpucles in size and aspect; they were in groups of 
three or four, and more or less in the process of coalescence, 
such as is known to take place with the swarm-cells, derived from 
the germination of the spores, in order to form a plasmodium. 

That the presence of these Fungi in the blood-vessels of the 
liver would at once readily explain the diseased condition of the 
liver, is obvious. As to the inflamed condition of the peritoneum 
noticed in some cases, this would follow the congested state of 
the liver ; and the same applies to the congestion, inflammation, 
and even perforation of the intestine observed unmistakably 
in two cases that had died spontaneously of the disease ; for the 
extreme congestion of the veins of the liver might easily produce 
that state, since the venous system of the intestines discharges 
into the hepatic portal system. But the same Fungi may be also 
present in the vessels of the intestine, and thus directly produce 
the abnormal condition of this organ ; but this I have not yet 
inquired into. 

At any rate, it will be necessary to study these bodies in the 
fresh and living state, which I hope soon to be able to do ; and 
further, their distribution in the diseased animals, the distribution 
of them and their spores on the moors, and the mode of entrance 
into the birds, will have to be carefully gone into. It is evident 
that on such studies will depend all preventive measures. So 
much I will assert at present, that there exists in the liver of 
diseased birds large numbers of corpuscles which are foreign to 
the liver tissue, and which in all respects correspond to some 
form of low Fungi, most probably to Plasmodia. 

In conclusion, I wish to offer my best thanks for the kind 
help and co-operation which I received from Sir Frederick 
Graham, Bart., Mr. J. Bailey Worthington, and Mr. Leonard 
Marshall. I have also to thank the following keepers : — James 
Sargent, of Waterhead Moors,' Cumnock ; head-keeper Cox and 
keeper Macdonald, of Craiglure Moors ; head. keeper Shiels, of 
Kilkerran Moors; head-keeper Tolmie, of Blairquhan Moors; 
James Crow and Alexander Crow, of the Flat and Stellshaw 
Moors respectively. 

ZOOLOGIST. — SEPT. 1887. 'i D 



By Allan Ellison. 

Having observed a pair of Siskins, Carduelis spinus, near 
Sliillelagh, in 1885, as late as ]May 29th, I was led to conclude 
that this species probably nested in the neighbourhood. Subse- 
quent observation has enabled me to prove beyond question that 
it does so regularly, and in at least one localit}' (the Coollattin 
woods) far from uncommonly. I have also noted the curious 
fact that while in most parts of the country the Siskin is scarcely 
known, except as a winter visitor, the reverse is the case about 
here. In spring and summer it is one of the most attractive 
small birds in our woods, and i^asses into the open fields in early 
autumn, when both old and young form small parties of from six 
to twenty birds. From November to the beginning of March, 
however, it is rare, appearing only at uncertain intervals and in 
small numbers, apparently never remaining near one place for 
any length of time. 

On the few occasions when I have seen Siskins during winter 
it has been almost always on the wing, flying verj^ high and 
seldom alighting, as if this locality afforded no attraction at that 
season of the year. About the beginning or middle of March 
they reappear in flocks, and immediately resort to their breeding 
haunts — the pine woods. In early spring Goldfinches and Lesser 
Redpolls associate wdth them in considerable numbers, the three 
species traversing the pines and alders in company, in search of 
food. As the season advances the Goldfinches and Redpolls 
leave the pine woods and depart to their own breeding haunts in 
the fields and hedges. 

From what I have observed here it appears that the Siskin, 
although resembling the species just named in habits, differs 
from them in rearing two broods instead of one in the season. 
It also builds its first nest a good deal earlier than other birds of 
the same group. Of four Siskins' nests which I have discovered 
this year the first one contained young ones several days old on 
April 29th — a date on which several of the Fringillidce have not 
even commenced to build. I have noticed many young broods of 
Siskins on the wing by the third week of May or even earlier. 


The first occasion on which I discovered a Siskin's nest was 
on May 21st, 1886, as announced in 'The Zoologist' for that 
year (p. 489). This nest was built near the end of a branch, at 
the top of a large Scotch fir, but was plundered either by Magpies 
or Squirrels shortly after the eggs were laid. VVitli great difficulty 
I succeeded in securing the nest itself by cutting off the branch, 
and gave it to Mr, A. G. More for the Science and Art Museum, 

This year I determined to watch the Siskins closely, and to 
make every eff'ort to discover some more nests, to obtain the 
eggs, and to find out as much as possible about the habits of the 
birds and their distribution during the breeding season. The 
result has been the discovery of four nests, two of which 
I obtained with the full complement of eggs. The first nest 
above mentioned contained five young on April 29th, and was 
situated in a small Scotch fir, very near the top, at the insertion 
of two of the lateral branches. On May 12th two young Siskins 
were fully fledged and left the nest. 

As I was particularly anxious to obtain the eggs, this nest 
was rather a disappointment to me, but knowing that there were 
many pairs of Siskins near the same part of the wood, I continued 
my search in the neighbourhood of the first nest. I had seen a 
pair of Siskins about a Douglas fir, and had noticed the hen bird 
returning several times to a certain spot on a branch, which made 
me suspect that she had selected it as a building site, though 
the nest was then not yet commenced. I revisited the tree on 
May 4th, several days afterwards, when I found the nest com- 
pleted. It was near the top of the tree on a lateral branch, some 
distance from the main stem. On the 10th five eggs had been 
laid, and the nest and eggs were then safely secured. 

I subsequently discovered two more nests, both on May 24th. 
One of these was built at the top of a tall lichen-covered spruce- 
fir, against the main stem, and contained one young bird about 
half-grown. The other nest, the fourth which I found, was 
situated in a tall larch, near the end of a long lateral branch 
some twenty-five feet from the ground, and when found had only 
just been commenced, but must have been finished within two or 
three days, for when I took it with five eggs, on June 3rd, the 
eggs were already incubated. As may be imagined from its 
position it was no easy matter to reach this nest ; but I succeeded 


by fastening up the branch with a rope, so that it could not bend 
or break as I made my way out along it. 

All the Siskins' nests I found this year were in CooUattin 
woods, the locality where these birds abound in summer; but 
that discovered on May aist, 1886 (Zool. p. 489), was at a place 
called Ballard, beside the Derry, two miles farther down the 
valley. I know that Siskins have been breeding at this latter 
place this year also, as I have observed both adult and young 
birds there. 

The dimensions of the nest now before me are : — External 
diameter, about Sg- in. ; internal diameter, If in. ; depth, Ig- in. 
The foundation and outer structure are composed of small dead 
spruce twigs, while the walls of the nest are chiefly formed of 
green moss, with fine roots around the margin, the whole being 
bound together with wool, and smoothly lined with fibrous roots, 
wool, horsehair, and a few feathers. The eggs are almost equal 
to those of the Goldfinch in size, or very slightly smaller ; of a 
pale bluish green, nearly identical with the ground colour of a 
Bullfinch's egg, and with small specks of subdued lilac and a few 
larger spots and dashes of deep purple and reddish brown. In 
some the darker spots are nearly or entirely absent. 

The young Siskins appear to be fed partly on Aphides, for 
while watching the parent birds carrying food to them I have 
observed that they gathered it from the leaves and green shoots 
of the alder trees, which nearly always swarm with Aphides, as 
anyone can testify who lias made his way through an alder thicket 
in early summer, the offensive insects falling down from the 
branches in showers at the slightest touch. 

I know no birds so interesting and varied in their habits as 
Siskins. Their extreme restlessness makes them very difficult 
to watch, for they seldom remain near the same spot even for a 
few minutes at a time. They particularly affect the tops of large 
fir trees, the highest point of the tallest spruce-firs being their 
favourite resting-place. From such a point of vantage their call- 
note, which is loud and clear, resembling the word " glee," is 
constantly repeated. This call sometimes so nearly resembles 
that of the Coal Titmouse as to be indistinguishable from it, 
except by a practised ear, especially as the two species frequent 
the same trees, and are often found in company. The male 
Siskins are most indefatigable and pleasing songsters, and the 


song is uttered from a branch, or tree top, as well as on the wing. 
Frequentl)- whilst singing the bird may be observed" to dart from 
its perch with an upward and somewhat circular flight, after the 
manner of a Meadow or Tree Pipit, and after describing a curve 
to realight at a little distance. But there is this difference, that 
while a Meadow Pipit sings but once during its flight, the Siskin 
often repeats its song several times before alighting, but always 
changes the direction of its flight each time that it recommences 
its song. This manoeuvre is always accompanied by a wavering 
and desultory motion of the wings, as if the bird was wounded 
and scarcely able to fly — a peculiar habit which is exhibited by 
the Greenfinch also in the pairing season. These flights are 
often many times repeated within a few minutes, especially in the 
neighbourhood of the nest, and while the female is occupied in 
building. The song itself seems to include notes of almost 
every other small bird, but I do not think it likely that the notes 
are in reality borrowed. Sometimes it assumes a considerable 
resemblance to that of the Chaffinch, but is rather harsher and 
more prolonged. Then, again, the bird will sing almost without 
a pause for some minutes together, introducing sounds which 
resemble the notes of the Sedge Warbler, Sky Lark, Goldfinch, 
Redpoll, Sparrow, and many other birds ; but the most charac- 
teristic part of the whole is a prolonged ci'eaking note, with 
which the song generally concludes. This is a sound which 
once heard is not likely to be soon forgotten, or mistaken for the 
note of any other bird. It is one of those strange bird-sounds 
which, like the "drumming" of the Snipe, the "churr" of the 
Nightjar, or the "trill" of the Grasshopper Warbler, are difficult 
to describe. Another note, which is not so often heard, is a soft 
chatter, which the bird generally utters as a call to its mate or 
companions when about to take flight. 

The male Siskins differ considerably in colour, some being of 
so bright a yellow as to resemble Canaries, the throat being 
jet-black, while others are greener and more dingy, the black 
on the throat being nearly or entirely absent. These last are 
evidently younger birds. 




By Robert Service. 

The Tufted Duck has of late years been gradually extending 
its breeding range in the British Islands, though I am not aware 
that its greater abundance or wider distribution in the winter 
months has been noticed in print. 

Whatever may be the case elsewhere, it is certain that in this 
district Tufted Ducks are far more frequently observed now than 
they were previous to (say) 1880. Until about that period I very 
seldom ever saw it, and only in certain favoured localities. Since 
then it has become comparatively common, and may be observed 
singly, or in small parties of half a dozen or more, every winter on 
almost all the lochs of this district. 

I cannot say that any corresponding increase in number has 
been noticed on the Solway Firth. On tiie Kirkcudbrightshire 
Solway it is very uncommon. Mr. Armistead states (' Naturalist,' 
1886, p. 72) that he has seen two which were killed on the Firth, 
but that it is decidedly rare. In reference to this remark the 
Rev. H. A. Macpherson subsequently wrote (p. 150) that "The 
Tufted Duck is fairly common on the upper parts of the Solway." 
Owing to the different meanings evidently attached to the word 
" Solway," we are left in doubt whether the actual waters of the 
Firth are meant or not. The authors of the ' Birds of Cumber- 
land' characterize it as "a winter visitant, constantly present 
with us from November to April, and tolerably plentiful near the 
Solway, being less frequently met with far inland." 

There is a prevalent idea amongst sportsmen here that it is 
one of the hard-weather fowl, and perhaps formerly this notion 
had some foundation, but for several years past this duck has 
made its annual appearance in winter in considerable numbers, 
quite irrespective of weather. Sir Wm. Jardine has remarked : — 
" On the Solway we have observed it in a much less proportion 
[than the Scaup], and only in small parties together. Its 
describers consider it more lacustrine than the Scaup, and we 
have frequently shot specimens in the Annan, fifteen or twenty 
miles from the sea ; the weather, however, was always sevei-e 


when this bird appeared " (Brit. Birds, vol. iv. p. 143). Mucli the 
same opinion has been expressed b_y Gray and Anderson in rela- 
tion to the Tufted Duck in two of the neighbouring counties : — 
" Strictly a winter visitant, frequenting the open sea in fine 
weather, and coming up the larger rivers during storms " (' Birds 
of Ayrshire and Wigtonshire,' p. 46). 

In all the references to this bird in our own and neighbouring 
districts, no observation is made of its increasing frequency in 
winter, nor — except where a hope is expressed by Messrs. Mac- 
pherson and Duckworth {op. cit.) that it may yet be found breeding 
in Cumberland — is there any allusion made to its nesting. 

Last year I observed two pairs of Tufted Ducks frequenting 
Lochratton, a loch a few miles west of Maxwelltown, during May 
and June, and there is a strong suspicion that at least one of the 
pairs nested, but I could not obtain any satisfactory proofs of it. 
On the 23rd May of last year I saw a pair of Tufted Ducks on 
Loch Ken. This j'^ear there were three of the same species 
on Preston Merse, below Southerness, on May 15th; and during 
the past breeding-season I have made frequent visits to Loch- 
ratton for the purpose of observing a couple of pairs of Tufted 
Ducks which again remained about the Loch after the other 
Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes, and Pochards had left. On the 24th 
May their actions plainly showed them to be preparing for 
nesting. Several days afterwards only one pair remained, and 
these were seen together frequently till nearly the end of June. 
On July 2nd I saw the male only, the female evidently having 
commenced to hatch, but the place being strictly preserved 
whereon the nest was likely to be, no attempt was made to find 
it. On the 21st July the female appeared out on the Loch 
surrounded with a brood of eight young ones, which at a little 
distance looked quite black. They were a few days old, so they 
had been hitherto concealed amongst the reeds, or they ma}' 
have come down one of the burns. 

A week later I again saw them, but in the interval they had 
decreased to five, the three missing ones having jsrobably been 
taken by Pike, with which the Loch abounds. We approached 
in a boat to within less than ten yards before the mother duck, 
thinking her safety compromised, rose and spluttered along the 
water, feigning inability to fly properly till she was forty or 
fifty yards oflf, when she sat down on the water pecking at her 


feathers, and trying to look quite unconcerned, but every now 
and then uttering a guttural sound like " kuruk," casting a glance 
back to where the young ones were diving incessantly, in a vain 
and most absurd-looking endeavour to hide themselves. She 
several times flew back to within eight or nine yards of the boat, 
and repeated the same manoeuvres as before. When we left the 
place, she gathered her brood round her, and made off quickly to 
the shelter of the reeds. 

It is satisfactory to add that this first recorded instance of 
the breeding of the Tufted Duck in the Stewartry of Kirkcud- 
bright has been well authenticated without infringing the Wild 
Birds Protection Act by taking the life of any of the birds in 


To purify Water in an Aquarium.— There is an easier method of 
keeping pure the water in a small aquarium than the chemical plan 
suggested at p. 292. No doubt the snails do good scavenger work, but the 
important point is to keep the water charged with ordinary atmospheric 
air. This can be done by the use of an ordinary pair of bellows for a few 
minutes twice or thrice a day. There is no mistaking the pleasure with 
which the fish receive a good blowing up. — T. Cornish (Penzance). 


A Herd of Red-deer from a single Hind. — The following information, 
derived from letters addressed to Professor Flower by Mr. J. A. Houblon, 
of Hallingbury Park, Bishop Stortford, has been kindly placed at our 
disposal for publication in ' The Zoologist ' : — " A Red-deer hind was hunted 
by Mr. Petre's hounds into this neighbourliood and lost in 1875. I was 
walking soon afterwards through the Forest (Hatfield Broad Oak) when 
I saw the hind with a male calf at her foot. Since 1877 sbe has had one 
calf every year, except one, though no stag, except her own offspring, has 
been seen in the Forest since she was lost and left there. Two voun» 
harts got drowned on going to drink at a muddy place from which they 
were unable to extricate themselves. In 1881 we killed and ate a five-year 
old stag thus reared, and another last year. The heads of these are good 
average heads, and are now hung up in our hall. They have each of them 
ten points, and neither of them showed any signs of degeneracy that we 
could perceive. There are now (May 2Sth, 1887) five Ked deer in Hatfield 


Broad Oak Forest, all of them sprung, as we believe, from this solitary 

Cat attacked by a Swallow. — Whilst walking in my garden not long 
ago my attention was drawn to an unusual screaming of Swallows, and on 
turning around I perceived ray little kitten looking very frightened and 
uncomfortable in the drive, about thirty yards from the house. To my 
surprise this was caused by a Swallow which swooped down several times 
and actually touched the Cat, making her jump round in a most ludicrous 
fashion. The movement of the bird was so rapid that I could not see if it 
touched the Cat with its beak or claws, but it certainly did with one or the 
other. Poor Puss seemed too startled to move at first (except simply to 
look round at the same spot), but eventually she fairly bolted with tail erect 
(after the manner of Cats when Tim the Terrier is after them), closely 
pursued by the Swallow until out of sight. I fetched Kitty again, and 
placed her on the same spot, but directly she heard the scream of the 
Swallow away she went as fast as her legs would carry her. I have often 
seen Swallows hover and heard them scream around a Cat, but never before 
saw one venture so close.— J, G. Hamling (The Close, Barnstaple). 

White Stoat in August.— I recently examined in the flesh a pure 
white Stoat {Mustela erminea), which was shot by Mr. J. S. Phillips, of 
Llandovery Court, Usk, on August 3rd, and forwarded by him with another 
of the normal colour to the Editor of ' The Field.' August 3rd is an 
unusually early date at which to find a Stoat in complete winter pelage, 
and in this case there was no trace anywhere of the brown colour which so 
often appears (even in mid-winter sometimes) in little patches on the head 
or back, the fur being of a uniform pale yellowish white. It was still 
further remarkable in having no black tip to the tail, a peculiarity which I 
have never before observed in any Stoat killed in this country, although 
such variation from the usual type, I believe, ha^ been noticed occasionally 
in the northern parts of North America and Canada. In the specimen 
now referred to, which was one of average size, the eyes were not pink, but 
of the usual dark brown colour. It has been preserved for exhibition in 
the Natural History Museum, South Kensington. — J. E. Harting. 

Hedgehog eating Swedes. — My brother, the Rev. W. Bond, of 
Edgton Vicarage, Aston-on-Clun, Shropshire, writing to me on July 2nd, 
says:— "Another thing I have lately heard is news to me, but which 
I have no doubt is perfectly true, as 1 have heard it from two respectable 
persons. Directly opposite my house was a field of swede-turnips last 
winter. The larmer noticed that some animal was taking great liberties 
with them ; thinking rabbits were the delinquents, he set some snares, but 
had no success. A small spinney runs along one side of the field, which 
the landlord reserves, and it is under the charge of a woodman. The 


farmer desired this man to set some steel traps (which are commonly used 
in these parts, notwithstanding the illegality), and in a very short space of 
time he caught over twenty Hedgehogs. After this no more turnips were 
eaten." I see that Bell says Hedgehogs will readily eat vegetable 
substances, and I know that tame ones will eat boiled potatoes and 
cabbage. Gilbert White, in his 27th letter to Pennant, observed that 
they eat the roots of the plantain in his grass-walks. If so, I do not 
wonder at their eating swede-turnips, which I fancy would be much more 
palatable. — F. Bond (5, Fairfield Avenue, Staines). 

[With regard to plantain roots, the author of the ' Letters of Rusticus 
discovered that the destroyer was not the Hedgehog, but a night-eating 
caterpillar. See Hartiug's edition of White's ' Selborne,' p. Ul, foot- 
note. — Ed.] 

A Badger in Birmingham. — It may interest some of your readers to 
know that a specimen of this comparatively rare animal was dug out of a 
hole recently in some sandhills in the neighbourhood of Chad Valley, 
Edgbaston, which is in the borough of Birmingham. It had been com- 
mitting great depredations among the poultry for some time past, until its 
presence was at last suspected. A Fox was shot in the same locality last 
spring. — W. Haecourt Bath (Lady wood, Birmingham). 

The Bats of Merionethshire. — Natterer's Bat, Vespertilio Nattereri, 
may be added to the species mentioned by Mr. Caton Haigh in the August 
'Zoologist' (p. 293) as inhabiting this county, on the authority of the late 
Mr. Wm. Thompson, of Belfast, who took a specimen in the ruins of 
Harlech Castle in July, 1835, as recorded in bis 'Natural History of 
Ireland ' (vol. iv. p. 2), and in the Zoological Society's 'Proceedings' for 
1887, p. 52.— J. E. Kelsall. 


Unusual Site for a Flycatcher's Nest. — A very similar occurrence to 
that mentioned by Mr. Darell Stephens (p. 306) came under my notice 
last year. In this case a pair of Spotted Flycatchers made a neat little 
nest inside an old Thrush's nest, which was placed on a horizontal bough 
of a beech about ten feet from the ground. I thought this so unusual and 
interesting that I made a sketch of it. When I left there were three 
fledged young ones in the nest. — G. E. Lodge (5, Verulam Buildings, 
Grays Inn). 

Curious Capture of a Snipe.— On coming home from a drive one day 
in July last I was told a boy with some birds wanted to see me. On being 
sent up he said, " I have brought two young Snipe and an old one " 
(which he had in his hand). I said, " Is she hurt?" " No, not a bit, sir." 
" How did you get her?" '• Well, I saw her with her two young ones in 


our garden. I caught the young ones and put them in a canary cage, 
and tied a piece of string to the door and hid myself: in about ten minutes 
she came, and after a bit went into the cage, and I pulled the door to." I 
gave him a shilling, saying, " Are you satisfied ? " " Yes, sir." I replied, 
tossing the Snipe up, " So am I ; and I am sure the Snipe is." The two 
young ones are now in Mr. 0. V. Aplin's collection of birds in down.— 
J. W. Whitaker (Rainworth Lodge, Notts). 

Pied Puffin and Razorbill at St. Kilda.— Those of your readers who 
are interested in abnormal plumage may be glad to know that among the 
seafowl snared by the men of St. Kilda last June occurred a Razorbill and 
a PufSn, in each of which the upper parts were pied with white. This I 
learn from the late schoolmaster there, Mr. Mun-ay, whom I first met on 
the island last year. Mr. Murray tells me that the Razorbill is the only 
pied specimen that has ever been takem at St. Kilda. " The pied Puffin," 
he continues, " is not such a rarity in St. Kilda. They see one or two 
pied Puffins every year. This one was killed on Boreray during the first 
week of June." — H. A. Macpherson. 

[In 'The Zoologist' for 187:2 (p. 3279) Lieut.-Col. Feilden, in an 
article on the Birds of the Faeroes, remarks that white varieties of the 
Puffin are not unfrequently seen there. Two were in the collection of 
Herr Miiller, and he saw a beauty in the flesh brought from the island of 
Naalsoe on the 17th June: it was pure white with black eyes, and one 
single black feather on the breast ; the legs and bill were of the ordinary 
colour. — Ed.] 

Open Nests of the Starling, Stock Dove, and Tawny Owl.— A 

Starhng's nest was found on May 5th at Gatton, in Surrey, in an ivied 
spruce-fir, some thirty feet up, the peculiarity of which was that it was a 
cup-shaped nest open to the sky. I never remember to have come across 
one like this before, though they are not unknown to the much greater 
birds'-nesting experience of Professor Newton, cf. Yarreli B. B. (4th ed. ii. 
p. 232, note). On an adjoining tree we found an open Stock Dove's nest, 
built like a AVood Pigeon's. All the Stock Dove's nests I have seen before 
were in holes. I have also seen thi-ee Tawny Owls' nests this summer 
which were quite open, one in the crotch of an oak, and two in tiie tops of 
the stumps of decayed broken alders ; two of them were in Norfolk and 
one at Whitley, in Surrey.— J. H. Gurnet, jun. (Keswick Hall, Norwich). 
[Two or three instances ol Tawny Owl's eggs being found exposed to 
oj en view have come under our notice. Mr. C. B. Wharton some years 
ago found eggs of this bird laid on the top of a heap of fir-needles, only a 
foot or two from the ground. — Ed.] 

Attempt to keep the Sand Martin in confinement.— Whilst in Kent 
last July, a man l^rouglit me live young Sand Martins which he had just 


taken from their nest. The burrow from which they had been taken 
having been destroyed, and the birds themselves being too young to fly, I 
determined to do my best to keep them alive. The idea of giving them 
their natural food being out of the question, I mixed up for them a paste 
consisting of four parts fig-dust and pounded dog-biscuit, two parts pea- 
meal and yelk of egg, and one part ants' eggs ; hut it was quite a week 
before they would take this food from a feeding-stick, and the task of 
opening their mouths for every morsel was one which I should not care to 
repeat. After about ten days, all five fed themselves greedily from a small 
glass pot of food, and I then turned them into a large flight-cage, hoping 
that they would take sufficient exercise to keep them in health. In this, 
however, I was disappointed, for, although at first they took short flights 
and roosted high up on the perches, or rock-work, in the cage, they 
gradually spent more and more time in cramming their crops, and one by 
one they dropped oft', until, at the end of the twenty-second day, the last of 
the five died. I may add that, although when first taken these young 
Sand Martins were beautifully clean, they so messed their faces with the 
soft food it was necessary to give them, that before they died all their 
beauty had departed.— A. G. Butler (Natural History Museum). 

The Song of the Chaffinch.— At p. 999 ante, the Rev, H. A. Mac- 
pherson asks vvhetlier " our home Chaffinches are autumn songsters." 
Amongst a number of other British birds, I keep two Chaffinches, one of 
which was caught five years ago, and the other two years ago. They both 
recommence singing every year in August, and continue singing during the 
autumn, but they do not sing so freely as in the spring. — H. Goss (Sur- 
biton Hill, Kingston-on-Thames). 

The Song of the Chaffinch. — I have frequently heard the Chaffinch 
singing in the neighbourhood of Birmingham in the autumn. Throughout 
the mild winter of 1881 I heard it almost once a week on the average. It 
does not usually commence to sing with us until the end of February or 
the beginning of March. The Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, and Crow have 
recently been observed breeding in the borough of Birmingham. — W. Har- 
couRT Bath (Ladywood, Birmingham). 

Swifts nesting in Martins' Nests.— The following is an extract from a 
letter dated July Jind, 1887, received from my brother, the Eev. W. Bond: 

"Did you ever hear of Swifts nesting in Martins' nests? This year 

they have taken possession of some under the eaves of the vicarage 
(Edi'ton Vicarage, Aston-on-Clun, Shropshire), which appears to me a very 
unusual proceeding." I wrote for further particulars, suggesting that 
there might be a hole under the eaves of the roof, and on July 29th got 
the following reply : — " You will think me very lazy not answering your 
queries before about the Swifts. There is no mistake about it ; there were 


two broods in Martins' nests, one of which has flown ; the others are now 
being fed by the old ones, as any one may see who will watch for a few 
minutes. I mentioned the occurrence as I never heard of such a thing 
before."— F. Bond (5, Fairfield Avenue, Staines). 

Plover's Nest with Five Eggs.— On reading Mr. Whitaker's note 
(p. 267), it reminded me of a Plover's egg which I took near here some 
sixteen or eighteen years ago. It was in a nest containing four other eggs 
of the ordinary Plover type, except perhaps that the ground colour of these 
eggs was somewhat lighter than usual, which made the smaller and darker 
egg look more conspicuous, for neither in form, markings, size, nor colour 
did it resemble any of them, being more ovate, having a brown ground 
colour with most of the darker markings collected about the smaller end, 
and the egg itself certainly not larger than that of a Song Thrush. An 
old collector, to whom I once showed it, said if he had not known its 
origin he would possibly have referred it to a variety of the Black Tern. 
I cannot, of course, affirm that all five eggs were laid by one and the same 
bird, but, as the Black Tern is sparsely distributed here as an autumnal 
visitor, I may positively say it is not referable to that species ; and I see 
no reason why it should not be a small, abnormally-marked egg of the 
Plover, Vanellus cristatiis, for we are well aware that sometimes where an 
unusual number of eggs are laid there is a marked diff^erence in the size 
of what we suppose to be the last of the clutch, although in such cases the 
smaller egg has generally a family resemblance— at least, in colour— to its 
fellows.— G. B. CoHBiN (Ringwood, Hants) 

[Would it not rather be the Jirst of the clutch ? The first eggs of 
pullets are usually smaller than those laid subsequently.— Ed.] 

Fork-tailed Petrel breeding on Islands off Co. Kerry.— I announced 
last year in ' Tlie Zoologist ' (p. 367) that an egg of this species had been 
sent to me from the Blasquet Islands. I am happy to say that a bird with 
its egg has, at my request, been forwarded this summer from the same spot 
to the Science and Art Museum, Dublin, and I am informed by my friend 
Mr. Barrington that the specimen is Procellaria Leacldi. He has more- 
over received this summer another egg of this species from the same 
island. It measures 1-31 by 97 in. I have also recently received an egg, 
among others of the Storm Petrel, from the Great Skellig, which measures 
1-21 by -93 in. Though these dimensions are unusually small for egas of 
the Fork-tailed Petrel, I have never known so large a size to be attained 
by eggs of the Storm Petrel, of which I have examined hundreds, and I 
should like to know if any reader of ' The Zoologist ' can give an instance 
of a Storm Petrel's egg of this size. I have three eggs of the Storm 
Petrel which measure respectively 1-2 by -84 in., M9 by -88 in., 
1-13 by -9 in. Mr. Seebohm gives as the greatest length 1-2 in., and the 


greatest breadth -86 in. I believe this egg from the Skelligs to be of the 
Fork-tailed Petrel, though the bird was not found with it, as in the former 
case. These are the first authentic records of this bird breeding on the 
Irish coast. It appears to do so in very small numbers, and only on the 
most outlying islands, for the three or four instances I have given are the 
results of careful and repeated searches which were entirely unproductive 
in a locality nearer the coast where the Storm Petrel breeds in large 
numbers. — R. J. Ussher (Cappagh, Co. Waterford). 

Honey Buzzard in Dorset. — About June 2nd or 3rd a fine bird of this 
species was killed not very far from Wimborne, and I had the pleasure of 
examining it shortly afterwards. It is a very dark, rich-coloured specimen, 
weighed 1 lb. 10 ozs., and measured 25| in. from beak to tip of tail. Its 
muscular feet and claws were very dirty, and it must have been scratching 
in the vicinity of cow-dung, as portions were attached to its otherwise dirty 
legs; in fact, the natural colour of both feet and legs was entirely hidden 
by the dirt. On dissection it proved to be female, as I had anticipated, 
and in the ovary I counted seventeen eggs, ranging from the size of a 
pin's-head to a hazel-nut. The two largest were about equal in size, and 
would have been, I supposed, the produce of the present season had the 
bird escaped destruction. Its crop contained very little, except two small 
grubs of some dipterous insects, — probably from the cow-dung, which it 
had been undoubtedly investigating, — but in its gizzard I found the 
remains of individuals of several orders of insects, amongst which the 
horny tail of the cockchafer and the pincer-like tail of the earwig were very 
conspicuous ; beside this was a small quantity of vegetable matter, arising 
no doubt from the empty skins of three full-grown larvae of Plusia gamma 
(silver-Y moth), the specific distinctness of which could be easily made out, 
although the caterpillar-skins were as empty and flaccid as if they had 
suffered great pressure. The action of the gizzard seemed to have had no 
more power over the skin of these caterpillars and the markings thereon 
than it had upon the horny appendages of the other insects, but probably 
time would have effected a change in both. It thus seems that the Honey 
Buzzard is an indiscriminate insect-feeder, taking the insect in every stage 
of its existence ; and, since wasps and their grubs, together with dragon- 
flies, is a well-known food of this bird, it seems a great pity that amongst 
many of the game-preserving coumiunity it should be classed as "'vermin," 
and killed as soon as discovered. I have been particular in describing what 
I found in the stomach, for the man who killed it wished me to understand 
that it was very destructive to his Partridges. It is interesting to note also 
that this bird did not reject caterpillars bearing short hair-like spines upon 
their bodies, as gamma does, for it is well known that some birds refuse 
lavvse unless smooth-skiimed, whilst others, as the Cuckoo, are said to 
prefer those that are comparatively spinous. — G. B. Corbin (Ringwood). 


Addition to the Avifauna of the Faeroe Islands. — I am indebted to 
Mr. Edward Hargitt for handing over to me a portion of his specimens of 
birds collected in the Faeroe Islands, and lately, when arranging them, I 
was pleased to discover in the collection two examples of the Bar-tailed 
Godwit, Limosa lapponica (Linn.), a species not hitherto recorded from the 
Fseroe Islands; one, a male in breeding plumage, procured by Herr H. C. 
MiiUer near Thorshavn on the 14th of June, 1878; the other, in autumn 
plumage, but without note of sex, nor date of capture, obtained by the 
same gentleman on the Island of Stromoe. Whilst on the subject of birds 
from the Fasroes, I may refer to the catalogue of a sale at Stevens's in 
Covent Garden on the 25th April, 1887, wherein lot 179 is described as a 
fine clutch (2) of Great Northern Diver, Faroes, 1880. Mr. Howard 
Saunders, who attended the sale, informs me that the eggs were un- 
questionably those of Colyiiibtts glacialis ; but I may point out that the 
locality given is doubtless an error, for the Great Northern Diver has never 
been known to breed in the Fasroe Islands.— H. W. Feilden. 

The Green Woodpecker an Egg-sucker. — We are well aware how 
readily a " bad name" attaches itself to any unfortunate object obtaining it, 
and thus it is with some degree of diffidence I make an accusation against 
the bird named, for it is a species giving such a marked characteristic to 
many of our woodlands in the South of England, that I should be sorry if 
any words of mine helped on the destruction of a single individual. Some 
two or three seasons ago a gamekeeper asked me if I knew that the Green 
Woodpecker was often as destructive to eggs as the Jay or Magpie, and 
that more than once he had seen a bird attacking his pheasants' eggs. I 
felt very sceptical on the point, and explained to him as well as I could 
that this species of Woodpecker often feeds upon ants and their pupas, for 
which it naturally descended to the ground, and that often the beak of the 
bird was covered with dirt from the mere fact of its searching about and 
probing in the earth ior such prey. No doubt many readers of this journal 
have seen this crimson-crowned forester scrutinising an ant-hill, thrusting 
in its bill to the utter confusion of the active inhabitants, and then securing, 
with its barbed and glutinous tongue, a plentiful meal of the ants as they 
ran hither and thither in their anxiety to protect the pupae. Upon making 
enquiries of those who, by their occupation as woodmen, &c., would be 
likely to know anything of this subject of egg-stealing, I found that the 
majority seemed to be ignorant of the matter with regard to the bird in 
question, whilst a few spoke of it as well known. This season, however, I 
have had a more conclusive proof, viz., about the beginning of May a wood- 
man told me he had seen a Woodpecker rifling a nest, and I asked him if 
he could secure me a bird taken in the act of egg-sucking. During the 
month I received three specimens — all males — with the following results on 
dissection: — 1. Beak and plumage of head very dirty; throat and crop 


containing what might have been the white of an egg. 2. Beak very dirty, 
plumage comparatively clean, but in the throat and stomach undeniable 
evidence of both white and yelk of egg. 3. Very clean, fuU-plumaged bird ; 
stomach containing only a few ants and other insect-remains. Had I found 
no more conclusive evidence than in No. 1, 1 should have treated the whole 
story as a myth, attributing the flnid contained in the throat, &c., to an 
unusual quantity, and an abnormal condition, of the glutinous substance 
found naturally in the head and throat of this and allied species ; but 
I know not how to argue in favour of No. 2, for in that case it seems to be 
"proven"; whilst in No. 3 the accusation is utterly disproved. Is it a 
recognised fact, — it was new to me, — or is it an acquired habit, something 
akin to the Kea's love for (living) mutton-fat (Zool. 1881, pp. 290—301)? 
for I should have mentioned that game-preserving is not carried on less 
keenly than it was some years ago in the locality where these birds were 
taken. I should be glad to know that egg-sucking is but a case of depraved 
appetite in a few individuals of the " Yaffingale," whose merry " laugh ' 
forms so pleasant an accompaniment to a woodland ramble. — Gr. B. Cokbin 
(Ringwood, Hants). 

Dark Variety of Montagu's Harrier in Hants. — At the end of May I 
heard of " a black hawk " having been killed near here, and on enquiry 
I have not much hesitation in saying it was the dark variety of the above 
species, which has been obtained once or twice before in this locality. I did 
not see the specimen in question, but its occurrence is, I think, worth 
recording. — G. B. Corbin (Ringwood). 

Egg-drills. — We have received from Mr. Marsden, of 37, Midland 
Road, Gloucester, two specimens of egg-drills — a small one sold at 6d., 
and a larger one at lOd. — which may be recommended. They are not so 
well finished as the one previously noticed (p. 236), but they are less 
expensive, and, being much shorter in length, are more conveniently 
carried by the egg-collector. 

Notes from Western Australia. — As I believe this district has never 
been explored from an ornithological point of view, having been settled 
only ten years, perhaps some notes may be of interest to readers of ' The 
Zoologist,' though, when I have been here longer, I shall have more to say 
I trust. At present my camp is about twenty miles from the sea, and 
about twenty miles north of the River Gascoyne, which, owing to a long 
drought, has not run for three years. This spell of dry weather interferes 
with bird-life ; many must have died of thirst, and stronger species moved 
to where there is water. The country may be described as a mass of scrub 
from two to ten feet high, with here and there sand-flats and clay-pans, 
where water holds when rain falls. Numerous shallow gullies intersect the 
country, and are fringed by the white or swamp gum tree (the only tree 


that grows here, and not to any great size). Near the sea are sand-hills 
and salt-marshes,, which I have not yet explored at all. Coming down the 
coast last January I shot many interesting birds at Derby (King's Sound), 
but they were all swamped in the boat returning to the ship. Mutton- 
birds were very numerous all along, and at Cossack I saw and shot Ospreys. 
At Ashburtou a fine Sea Eagle settled on the mast-head, but was not 
secured. The noble Wedge-tailed Eagle {A. audax) is numerous here, and 
very destructive to lambs : a good many have fallen victims to poison. It 
is a pity to destroy such fine birds, but I have seen a pair kill five lambs in 
one morning. Birds of prey are very plentiful, but as yet I have not 
commenced to shoot for skins, the birds being in bad feather this time of 
year, and I want to secure them with their eggs. Emus are seen almost 
daily, in spite of the drought, and, from a specimen I examined on 
March 23rd, I think Gould is correct in surmising that the Spotted Emu 
is the bird of Western Australia (Dromaiis irroratus). This was a female, 
and contained a large cluster of eggs, some as large as a duck's. March 
25th no less than twenty-eight were seen in one flock near a pool, many 
last year's birds not full-grown. The Western Long-billed Cockatoo 
[Licmetis pastinator) is seen in large flocks. I have only Gould's ' Hand- 
book ' to work from, but have seen and shot several of the following species, 
which he describes as only being found in the interior : — Eose-breasted 
Cockatoo (C. roseicapiUa), the Varied Parrakeet {Psephotus multicolor), and 
the Crested Bronze-wing Pigeon (Ocijphaps lophotes). The Yellow-collared 
Parrakeet (P. semitorquatus) is common, as are others of this genus I 
have not yet identified. A flock of Black Swans were on a pool here 
April 2nd, which I take to be a long way north for this species ; they were 
in company with Avocets, Pelicans, Pink-eyed Duck, Australian Teal, and 
other wildfowl. The Australian Curlew is very common, and a noisy bird 
at night. When winter sets in, and we get rain, I hope to be able to send 
some fuller and more interesting notes. — T. Carter, of Masham, Yorkshire 
(Boolathana Station, Gascoyne, Western Australia). 


Coloration of the Viper. — With reference to the remarks of Mr. 
Macpherson under this heading (p. 306), it may be well to point out that 
the Viper which occurs in the Forest of Foutainebleau is Vipera aspis, 
and not the British Viper, Vipera herus. The characters by which these 
two species may be distinguished will be found indicated by Mr. Boulenger 
in «The Zoologist' for 1885, p. 375.— J. E. Harting. 


"Becker" or " Braise" in Cornwall. — On August 3rd I took, in my 
trammels, a "Becker" or "Braise." There exists considerable doubt 

ZOOLOGIST. — SEPT. 1887. 2 E 


whether this fish is distinct from the Spanish Bream, but, having now 
lalven several specimens, T am convinced, from its shape, its peculiar 
dentition, its lustrous colours when alive, and, above all, from the quality of 
its flesh, that it is distinct, I do not regard the " Becker " as a rare fish. 
Every summer I see some hawked round our streets and sold as common 
Sea Bream, but any one who is offered a short Sea Bream, with a red-bronze 
back and a yellow-brouze belly, and with no spot over the pectorals, will do 
well to buy it at the fishwoman's price. He will have secured the 
" Becker " ; and, when he has stewed it in milk with shreds of parsley, he 
will eat a fish superior to Turbot. — T. Cornish (Penzance). 

Middlesex Mollusca. — The following Mollusca were taken by me in 
the neighbourhood of West Drayton, Middlesex, on the 30th May last: — 
SphcBriuin corneum, S. rivicola, Plsidium fontinale, P. jnisilluin, Unio 
pictorwni, A7ioclonta anatina [and var. radiata),Neritina flumatilis, Paludina 
vivipara, Bythinia tentaculata, B. Leachii, Valvata crlstata, Planorbis 
vortex, P. complanatus, P. corneiis, P. coiUortus, Phijsafontinalis, Limncca 
j^eregra (and var. ovata), L. stagnalls, L. pahistris (and var. tincta), L. 
truncatula, Ancylus fluviatilis, Arion ater, A. hortensis, Limax agrestis, 
L. lavis, Succinea Pfeifferi, S. jmtris, Zonites nitidus, Z. ciijstallinus, 
Z. J'ulvus, Helix aspersa, H. neinoralis, H. hortensis, H. arbustoruin, 
H. cantiana, H. rufescens, H. concinna, H. sericea, H. rotundata, Cochli- 
copa lubrica (and var. alba), Carychium minimum, and Vertigo 2)yg»i<Ba. — 
S. C. CocKEEKLL (Bedford Park, Chiswick). 


Hawaiian mode of fishing for Octopus. — The United States Fish 
Commission in one of their Bulletins furuish an excellent report by 
Mrs. Emma M. Beckley, Curator of the Hawaiian National Museum, on 
" Hawaiian Fishing Implements and Methods of Fishing." The writer gives 
some curious details about Octopus-fishing. The smaller kinds of Octopus, 
which live in shallow water, are caught by women, who do their work with 
remarkable skill. They can tell whether an Octopus is in a hole whose 
entrance is no larger than a silver dollar, and, plunging their spears in, 
they invariably draw one out. The larger kinds of Octopus, which are 
always found in deep water, are caught liy men with cowries, generally of 
the Mauritiana, but sometimes of the tiger species. An Octopus will not 
rise to a large-spotted or ugly cowry, so the fishermen have to take care 
that the spots on the back of the shell are very small and red, breaking 
through a reddish-browu ground. Cowries with suitable spots, but objec- 
tionable otherwise, are slightly steamed over a fire of sugar-caue husks, 
a process which gives them the desired hue. The fisherman, having 


arrived at his fishing-grounds, first chews and spits on the water a mouthful 
of candle-nut meat, which renders tlie water glassy and clear ; he then drops 
the shell with hook and line into the water, and swings it over a place 
likely to be inhabited by an Octopus. The moment an Octopus perceives 
a cowry, it shoots an arm out and clasps the shell. If the shell is of the 
attractive kind, one arm after another comes out, and finally the whole 
body of the Octopus is withdrawn from the hole and attaches itself to the 
cowry, which it closely hugs, curling itself all around it. The creature 
remains very quiet while being rapidly drawn up through the water. Just 
as it reaches the surface, the fisherman pulls the string so as to bring its 
head against the edge of the canoe, and it is killed by a blow from a club 
which is struck between the eyes. This must be done rapidly, before the 
animal has time to become alarmed ; for if it lets go the cowry it becomes 
a dangerous antagonist, and there is risk of the fisherman being squeezed to 
death. The cutting off of one or more of its eight arms does not affect the 
rest in the least. 


Craneflies preyed upon by Gulls and Terns. — When dissecting a 
mature Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, on the 15th August, 
I found the stomach and throat crammed full of the common Cranefly, 
Tipiila longicornis. When taken out of the bird's crop they weighed one 
ounce and a half, so I thought the fact worth mention. — C. Brazenoii 

[We have often observed the Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus, 
and the Common and Black Terns, Sterna fluviatilis and nigra, catching 
Craneflies on the wing, on a still summer evening, when these insects were 
flying in clouds near the water. — Ed.] 

Retirement of Mr. A. G. More.— Mr. A. G. More, F.L.S., M.R.I.A., 
a long and valued contributor to ' The Zoologist,' has unfortunately been 
obliged, owing to ill health, to resign his appointment as Curator to the 
Natural History Department of the Science and Art Museum, Dublin. 
Before he went to Ireland Mr. More had written an account of the Fauna 
and Flora of the Isle of Wight in Canon Venables' Guide to that Island, 
and had also published an important series of papers " On the Distribution 
of Birds in Great Britain during the Nesting-season" in 'The Ibis' for 
1865. The central idea of cataloguing the nesting-places of birds was his 
own, and the working of it out involved an immense amount of labour. 
On first going to Ireland Mr. More originated the idea of producing a Flora 
of Ireland. This he accomplished by putting in writing and critically 
e.xamiuing the great store of facts which the late Dr. D. Moore had 


accumulated in his memory. The • Cybele Hibernica' was then published, 
and well supplied a long-felt want. Mr. More is at present engaged 
on a new edition of that valuable work. In 1867 Mr. More was appointed 
as Assistant in the Museum of the Royal Dublin Society, and the pages of 
'The Zoologist' and 'Ibis,' and other journals testify to his activity in 
investigating the Flora and Fauna of Ireland. A few of his more important 
additions to the Fauna may be here noted: — In company with Mr. Wm. 
Andrews he found the first Irish specimens of Montagu's Blenny, Blemiius 
galerita, at Dingle and Connemara (' Zoologist,' 1878, p. 297j. In 1875 
he summarised what was known concerning the occurrence of gigantic 
Squids in Ireland ('Zoologist,' 1875, pp. 4526 and 4569). The form from 
Boffin Island which he identified as Architeuthis dux and the one he 
described as Dinoteut/ds pmboscideus, u. g. and sp., have since been recog- 
nised by Verrill as being specimens of ^4. tnonachiis. In 1881 (Zool. p. 834) 
the Dusky Shearwater, Ptiffiims yriseus, from Co. Kerry and Falco islandus 
from BelmuUet (p. 488) were added to the Irish list. He recorded the Cape 
Pigeon, Daption capensis, as a straggler in Co. Dublin in 1882 (' Ibis '), but 
has now some doubt as to the honesty of his informant. The Spinous Shark, 
Echinorhynchus spinosus, was first recognised by Mr. More as Irish, 
from the Dublin coast (Zool. 1882, p. 434), and again from Galway Bay 
(Zool. 1885, p. 311). In 1885 he certified to the occurrence of the Wood 
Sandpiper in Wicklow (Zool. p. 438). In 1885 Mr. More completed 'A 
List of Irish Birds, showing the Species contained in the Science and Art 
Museum, Dublin," this being the first of a series of official Guides pub- 
lished by the Museum. This year he produced ' A Guide to the Mammals 
and Birds of the Museum. On several occasions Mr. More has made 
dredging excursions to various parts of the coast of Ireland, the results of 
which may be seen in the above Museum. A list of his published notes 
and papers, or an examination of the Museum under his charge, would not 
give a complete view of the activity of his mind. His numerous friends 
and correspondents can tell of his readiness to impart information and to 
suggest lines of enquiry. His critical knowledge of British plants and 
birds was continually being tested by local naturalists, and not a few of the 
papers recently published on the Flora and Ornithology of Ireland owe 
their origin or their value to his ability. Mr. M ore's large circle of friends 
will be pleased to learn that, although no longer connected with the Museum, 
he will still continue to reside in Dublin ; and his house, like his room in 
the Museum in the past, will we hope continue for many years to be the 
rendezvous of all those interested in Irish Natural Historv. 



Entomological Society of London. 

August 3, 1887. — Dr. D. Sharp, President, in the chair. 

Mr. John Witheriugton Peers, M.A., of Wendover, near Tring; and 
Mr. R. G. Lynam, of the North Staffordshire Infirmary, Stoke-on-Trent, 
were elected Fellows of the Society. 

Jonkeer May, the Dutch Cousul-General, exhibited a pupa and two 
images of Cecidomyia destructor (Hessian Fly), which had been submitted 
to him for exhibition by the Agricultural Department. 

Mr. W. White exhibited, and made remarks on, a specimen o( Philam- 
pelus satelUtia, Linn., from Florida, with supposed fungoid excrescences 
from the eyes. Mr. Stainton said he was of opinion that the supposed 
fungoid growth might be the pollinia of an Orchis. Mr. Poulton expressed 
a similar opinion, and the discussion was continued by Mr. Pascoe, 
Dr. Sharp, and others. 

Mr. White also exhibited a specimen of Catephia alchipnista, bred from 
a pupa collected by Mr. Ralfe last autumn on the South Coast. 

Mr. M'Lachlan sent for exhibition a number cf oak-leaves infested by 
Phylloxera punctata, Lichtensteiu, which he had received from Dr. Maxwell 
Masters, F.R.S. 

Mr. Champion exhibited two rare species of Curculionidm from the Isle 
of Wight — viz., one specimen of Baridius analis, and a series of Cathor- 
viiocerus socius. He remarked that C. marUimus, Rye, had been placed in 
recent European Catalogues as a synonym of the last-named species, but 
that this was an error. He also exhibited a series of Cicindela germanica, 
from Blackgang, Isle of Wight. 

Mons. Alfred Wailly exhibited, and made remarks on, a number of 
living larvae of Anther cea pernyi, A.mylitta, Telea polyphemus, Platysamia 
cecropia, Actios luna, Attacus cynthia, Callosamia promethea, and other silk- 
producing species. He also exhibited imagos of the above species, imagos 
oi Anther aa Yama-mai, and a number of species of Diurni from Sarawak. 

Mr. Poulton exhibited crystals of formate of lead obtained by collecting 
the secretion of the larva of Dicranura vinula on 283 occasions. The 
secretion had been mixed with distilled water in which oxide of lead 
was suspended. The latter dissolved, and the acid of the secretion being 
in excess the normal formate was produced. Prof. Meldola promised to 
subject the crystals to combustion, so that their constitution would be 
proved by the final test. 

Mr. Oliver Janson called attention to Mr. Pryer's new work, ' Rhopa- 
locera Niponioa,' and to the fact that the illustrations had been executed 
by Japanese artists. — H. Goss, Hon. Secretary. 



Rough Notes on the Birds observed during Tiventy Years Shooting 
and Collecting in the British Islands. B_y E. T. Booth. 
With Plates from Drawings by E. Neale, taken from 
Specimens in the Author's possession. Part XV. and last; 
folio. London : R. H. Porter. 1887. 

Commenced in 1881, and issued at intervals in parts, the 
recent appearance of Part XV. has brought this fine work to a 
conclusion. As the author tells us in his Introduction, more 
years than he anticipated have been spent in describing the 
habits of the birds observed by him, and it would now be more 
correct to name twenty-five years instead of twenty as the period 
over which his observations have extended. The public have 
been the gainers, for the result is a collection of the most 
interesting and valuable notes relating to many of the rarer 
British birds which are not to be found elsewhere. 

The concluding part, which is now before us, deals with the 
Snow Bunting, Bittern, Common Sheld Duck, Wigeon, Mallard, 
Dunlin, Ruff, and Common Tern, containing in addition the 
title-pages, contents, and list of plates for the three volumes in 
which the work may now be bound. 

The illustrations by Mr. Neale from specimens in the author's 
collection, although perhaps somewhat unequal in merit as 
regards drawing, are accurately coloured, and have this great 
recommendation, namely, that in many cases several plates are 
given of the same species in different phases of j)lumage, many 
of which have not been previouslj' represented in an^^ other 
work. As examples, we may note the plates which represent the 
immature plumage of the Osprey, Kite, Hen Harrier, Montagu's 
Harrier, Bearded Tit, Yellow Wagtail, Ruff, Whooper, Shoveller, 
Eider, Velvet Scoter, Gannet (six pla